5 Food Sources for Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are important to your health. These fatty acids are part of the membranes surrounding the cells in our body. Getting more omega-3 fatty acids into your daily diet can provide a whole host of health benefits.
The health benefits of omega-3s include:
- Helping to prevent against heart attack and strokes.
- Increasing blood flow to the brain.
- Lowering cholesterol.
- Helping with memory.
- Improving mood.
- Decreasing inflammation.
Why food sources of omega-3s are important
As much as possible, it’s important to get omega-3 fatty acids as part of a well-rounded diet versus supplements. A healthy eating regimen that includes omega-3 fatty acids also will include other vitamins and minerals that help our bodies run properly.
Omega-3s may provide some benefit for a number of health conditions, including:
- Ulcerative colitis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Renal disease.
Below are the 5 food sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acid:
1. Salmon and other fatty fish
Fish provides you with protein and vitamins such as vitamin D. Fatty fish that are an excellent source for omega-3s include:
- Salmon. In fact, a 3-ounce serving of Atlantic salmon has 2 grams of omega-3s, according to Gradney.
Eating a 3.5- to 4-ounce serving of oily fish at least twice weekly is a solid way to boost your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and it may be easier to do than you think.
Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Just a tablespoon of flaxseed has 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3s. It also has 2 grams of fiber and is low-calorie.
You can add small servings of ground flaxseed to:
- Smoothies or smoothie bowls.
If you’re concerned about flaxseed flavor taking over your food, rest assured that this humble seed doesn’t really change how your food tastes. Make sure you consume ground flaxseed, so the omega-3 fatty acids can be absorbed. Otherwise, your body will consume the seed whole without obtaining the omega-3s. You can easily find ground flaxseed at the supermarket.
It’s also important to start slow if you’re new to eating flaxseed because of its high fiber content. Drinking more water can help your body better absorb the fiber.
These types of oil can easily add omega-3s to your eating regimen:
- Olive oil.
- Canola oil.
- Soybean oil.
Use small amounts of (these oils) with your cooking. Fats are calorie dense, so it is important to use portion control.
4. Omega-3 fortified eggs and other fortified foods
Some hens are fed flaxseed, leading them to produce eggs that have omega-3 fatty acids (otherwise, eggs are not usually a source of omega-3s for your diet). Look out for egg cartons labeled “enriched with omega-3” or “contains omega-3” to make sure you’re buying the right kind.
Eggs are a great source of protein, and they have healthy fats. Eggs are also a versatile food. Make a hard-boiled egg as a snack.
You may also find other foods fortified with omega-3s, meaning that the fatty acids have been added to them in their processing. These may include yogurts, juices, milks and even infant formulas. The exact content of omega-3 in fortified foods will vary.
Many registered dietitians generally recommend that we use food to get important nutrients into our body. However, if that’s hard to do (and that is indeed sometimes hard with a typical Western diet), then they may recommend the use of an omega-3 supplement.
There are a variety of omega-3 supplement types available, including:
- Fish oil.
- Flaxseed oil.
- Krill oil.
- Algal (algae) oil.
Vegetarians may opt for flaxseed oil or algae oil to avoid consuming a fish product. In fact, certain fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids because of the algae they eat.