If there were a top 40 of good foods, a chart rundown of the right things to eat, then anything containing omega-3 fatty acids would have been number one for years. They even have their own international awareness day, which takes place this Wednesday.
Omega-3 is the name given to a family of unsaturated fatty acids found mainly in oily fish, such as salmon, herring, sardines and anchovies, and also in eggs, meat, milk and cheese. The naturally occurring acids of the omega-3 family can apparently boost our brain power, keep out hearts healthy, strengthen our bones, and much more. You can ingest the fatty acids by eating a lot of the right kind of fish or by taking fish oil supplements - little golden capsules rich in omega-3.
Hardly a week goes by without yet another media report on "The wonders of omega-3 fatty acids" (as a headline in Canada put it recently). Last month it was reported omega-3 can protect against psychotic disorders such a schizophrenia. An international team of researchers gave a daily dose to 81 people deemed to be at risk from psychosis and found it seemed to cut the rate of psychotic illness - including schizophrenia - by 25%.
But how much of this is hype, and how much reality? Is there a danger that a largely fish-derived fatty acid is being turned into a modern-day magic potion? Dietician Evelyn Tribole is a firm believer in their potency.