March 4, 2023

Did you know that 95% of Americans, and 80% of people worldwide, are not getting enough EPA and DHA omega-3s? It is important to know your levels because omega-3s can offer big benefits to your health. Omega-3s can help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help lower triglycerides (20–50%), increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and help prevent hardening of arteries. In addition, omega-3s are important for brain health. These fats are concentrated in brain cells and play an important role in memory and brain function, critical for adults and children. They also can help reduce Inflammation in the body, helping reduce the pain associated with arthritis.

Omega-3 fats are an essential fat, meaning the body is unable to produce omega-3 fats and needs to get this nutrient from food or supplementation. There are three main types of omega-3s. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are the marine-based omega-3s that occur mostly in animal foods and algae and are the most important. The best food sources of EPA and DHA omega-3s are fatty, oily fish like salmon, tuna and herring. You can also get these nutrients from omega-3 supplements like fish oil, krill oil or algal oil (vegetarian EPA+DHA). ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) comes from plant sources like chia seed, flax seed and walnuts. Aim for at least 500mg EPA+DHA per day. Get this from eating fatty/oily fish, eating foods fortified with EPA/DHA, and by taking an omega-3 supplement like Nordic Naturals. Pregnant and lactating women should get at least 700 mg per day of EPA+DHA, with at least 300 mg of that as DHA.

Want to find out your omega-3 level? The only way to know if you are getting enough of the right omega-3s is to test your omega-3 level using an Omega-3 Index test. During the month of March, Hy-Vee dietitians will be offering 2,000 FREE Omega-3 Index Screenings at select locations, thanks to our generous sponsors – GOED and Nordic Naturals! Screenings are first come, first serve with limited appointments available. You can connect with a Hy-Vee dietitian and get signed up for this screening by visiting:

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.