Child
4th Nov 2020

When it comes to supporting brain health and cognitive development, you might be familiar with the importance of omega-3 fatty acids. But, did you know that one omega-3 plays a particularly big role in doing so?

Enter, docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA as it’s more commonly known.

DHA makes up around 97% of all omega-3 fatty acids in our brains as well as 93% in our retinas (1). Considering this significance and the fact our bodies are unable to produce DHA it’s no wonder that it’s classed as an essential nutrient.

Because we can’t make it ourselves, we rely on our diet to get adequate amounts of DHA, which is most prominently found in fish.

As you know, there are plenty of fish in the sea, so which ones should you be eating to support your DHA consumption?

Which Fish Contain The Most DHA?

  • 100 g canned sardines: 1500 mg

Serving suggestion: Make sardine fish fingers by coating them in egg and almond flour and lightly frying in olive oil

  • 100 g canned salmon: 500-1000 mg

Serving suggestion: Why not try mix canned tuna into fishcakes and serve with a side of your little one’s favourite veggies?

  • 150 g Atlantic salmon fillet: more than 500 mg

Serving suggestion: Grill your serving of salmon and serve alongside your go-to salad greens and a squeeze of lemon over the top.

Note: While some kids take to grilled salmon like a fish to waters, others may find the strong taste off-putting.

  • 100 g canned tuna: 300-500 mg

Serving suggestion: Spruce up your pasta dinner by stirring through canned tuna,parsley, lemon juice and garlic.

  • 150 g barramundi: 200-300 mg

Serving suggestion: Whip up some fish tacos with corn, cherry tomatoes and seared barramundi and you’re good to go!

 

How Much Fish Should Your Family Consume Each Week?

Ready to start supporting your family’s DHA intake but not sure how much fish is enough (and how much is too much)?

The Food Safety Australian New Zealand (FSANZ) recommends we eat 2-3 servings of fish each week, but the size of these servings and types of fish that can be safely consumed differs slightly for children and pregnancy (1).

For adults, FSANZ recommends these servings should be 100 grams for adults, while a slightly smaller 75 gram portion is deemed suitable for younger children (1). To learn more about the fish considerations for children, you can find more information here.

During pregnancy, this recommendation is reduced slightly to just two servings of fish each week. This also varies depending on the mercury content of the fish on the plate. Find out more about the importance of omega-3s during pregnancy as well as restrictions to keep in mind.

Equipped with these five delicious recipe ideas and information about your family’s recommended fish intake, you’re well on your way to supporting their DHA intake and supporting their brain health.

But remember, if you’re concerned about anyone in your family’s omega-3 intake or diet, it’s important to talk to a health professional. They can assess your individual needs (including any fussy eaters in the family) and provide tailored practical advice.  Have you found this information useful? If so you may enjoy the following:

Helping Healthy Brains: The Importance of DHA

This Is How Omega 3 Supports Your Child From Pregnancy And Beyond

References:

  1. FSANZ ADVICE ON FISH CONSUMPTION. (n.d.). [online] Available at: https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/chemicals/mercury/documents/mif%20brochure.pdf.
  2. Essential Fatty Acids (2019). Essential Fatty Acids. [online] Linus Pauling Institute. Available at: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/essential-fatty-acids.
  3. Lauritzen, L., Brambilla, P., Mazzocchi, A., Harsløf, L., Ciappolino, V. and Agostoni, C. (2016). DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function. Nutrients, 8(1), p.6.
  4. gov. (2017). Office of Dietary Supplements – Omega-3 Fatty Acids. [online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/.
  5. Stillwell, W. and Wassall, S.R. (2003). Docosahexaenoic acid: membrane properties of a unique fatty acid. Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, 126(1), pp.1–27.
  6. cox, owen (2013). Recommended number of serves for adults | Eat For Health. [online] Eatforhealth.gov.au. Available at: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-adults.

 

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