(BPT) - We’ve all heard the saying “knowledge is power.” When it comes to good health, most people recognize the important role nutrition plays in a healthy lifestyle. However, according to a recent study by the Global Nutrition and Health Alliance (GNHA), despite efforts to eat a balanced diet, 98 percent of people do not get enough omega-3 (O3) to reach the optimal range. People should take action to ensure they are consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and help support brain, joint and eye health.

This National Health Education Week (Oct. 16–20, 2017), empower yourself with practical tips and knowledge to help ensure you are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

1. Get to know the basics

Every human has a basic nutritional need for omega-3 fatty acids. Considered "essential" because the body needs them to function but can’t create them on its own, O3 must come from dietary sources. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA), have been associated with overall heart health and improving eye, brain and joint performance as we age. You can find out your O3 levels with the Omega-3 Index test.

2. Eat right

A growing number of expert bodies and health professionals recommend up to 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA per day. Since our bodies don’t produce omega-3 fatty acids naturally, you can increase your daily intake of this essential nutrient by eating at least two fatty fish meals per week, as well as fortified food and beverages, such as milk and eggs. Sources of fatty fish include coldwater fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring or sardines.

3. Bridge the gap

In reality, diet alone may not be enough. Study findings show that 82 percent of people believed they didn’t need to take a supplement to have a balanced diet, yet almost none of them had an O3 level in the optimal range. Whether it’s due to limited access to fresh, quality foods or dietary preferences, if you are like many others who do not consume significant amounts of fish on a regular basis, O3 supplements may be the key to ensuring optimal nutrition.

The GNHA is a group of doctors, scientists, dietitians and health and medical experts focused on educating consumers and health care professionals about optimal nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle. To learn more about the GNHA study findings, visit http://www.globalnutritionhealth.org/.