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Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These are types of essential, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and it's very important that they are included in our diet.

They include EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic aci) which are form mainly in oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon and sardines; and ALA (alphalinolenic acid) found mainly in flax seeds.

They reduce blood clotting, blood levels, cholesterol levels and inflammations - in this way preventing heart attacks and strokes.

In one study, a daily consumption of between 1 and 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids was found to reduce the death risk of coronary heart disease in men by 40 per cent.

There is also evidence that DHA, calcium and iron are vital for both the mother and growing foetus.

DHA is also important for the eye tissue and for brain development in children. See 'Alternative Medicine'; 'Heart Disease'

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