Q: I am reading a book that recommends omega-3 fatty acids. What do you think about these fats?
– Tim from Woodstock

A: Although I can’t speak for the book, I do support recommendations that people eat more omega-3 fats and less saturated fats. In researching my latest book, The Origin Diet (Henry Holt, January 2001), I found that our bodies evolved on diets rich in these omega-3s, consuming up to 5 to 10 grams a day. Today most people average less than 1 gram a day. Unlike saturated fats, which are storage fats, the omega-3s are structural fats that function as components of cell membranes, building blocks for hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins, and as regulators of bone metabolism and nerve function. It’s not surprising that an overwhelming amount of research is showing that increasing these fats in our diets lowers risk for physical, emotional, and mental disorders. Rich sources of the omega-3s include wild game and fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Although flaxseed contains omega-3s, they are converted inefficiently to the active forms of these fats in the body, so flaxseed is not as good a source as is fatty fish. -Elizabeth Somer