Omega-3 fats are needed daily in the diet to help protect against heart disease, some inflammatory diseases and autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis as well as promoting eye health. Omega-3 fats also play a major role in infant growth and development, as well as behaviour, attention and learning in children.
How much do I need?
Health authorities such as the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the National Health and Medical Research Council recommend regularly eating foods that provide omega-3s. These foods include walnuts, canola oil and soybeans, as well as fish, shellfish, marine algae, eggs and lean meat.
Research indicates that many Australians are meeting the daily Adequate Intake (AI) recommendations (minimum amount needed) for omega-3 fatty acids however are failing to meet the optimal intake for disease prevention. This includes older as well as younger Australians . These data indicate that there is a need for Australians to increase their daily intake of omega-3-containing foods to meet current recommendations for optimal health.
Omega-3 Fats in Eggs
Eggs provide omega-3 fatty acids, contributing an average of 180mg per serve, 12% of the omega-3 AI recommendation for men and 20% for women. Of this, 114mg is long chain omega-3 fatty acids, representing 71-127% of the long chain omega-3 AI. Eggs are therefore a particularly useful source of long chain omega-3 fatty acids for ovo-vegetarians and others who do not eat fish regularly. For children, one serve of eggs contributes 14-33% of their daily omega-3 AI, depending on their age. Additionally, eggs enriched with omega-3 provide even more of these fatty acids.
Although fish is recommended as a key dietary strategy for people to increase their omega-3 intake, in Australia we generally don’t eat enough fish to meet our needs. Eggs are therefore a useful food to include in the diet as an additional source of these essential fatty acids in the diets.