Top 10 Sources of Omega-3s
Our bodies require many fats to function properly, most of which we can produce on our own. However, there is one essential fat that our bodies cannot produce on their own, omega-3 fatty acids. This means that we have to get our omega-3s from the food we eat.
Omega-3s are an important part of keeping our hearts beating, as they have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and the health implications associated with it. But omega-3s are not just great for the heart, they benefit many functions and parts of the body including helping with cell function and easing arthritis inflammation. For adults, it is recommended to get 250-500 mg of omega-3s per day.
There are three types of omega-3s: ALA, EPA, and DHA. ALA omega-3 fatty acids are found in plants while EPA and DHA are found in select types of fish (and are the most common and researched types.) ALA must be converted to DHA and EPA for our bodies to use it, unfortunately, our bodies are not great at converting ALA so it is best to get your omega-3s from fatty fish or a supplement.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in many food sources, from fatty fish to plants and seeds. Try adding some of our favorite sources to your diet to get the benefits associated with this essential nutrient.
- Walnuts: Walnuts contain the highest levels of omega-3s of any nut, just a quarter of a cup provides over 100% of our daily recommended value (RDV) of the nutrient. The versatility of walnuts makes them one of the easiest ways to add more omega-3s to our diet.
- Salmon: Salmon is the fish most commonly associated with omega-3s, and it is with good reason since just a 4-ounce serving provides more than 50% of our RDV.
- Fish oil: In terms of supplements, fish oil is your best option if you want to add omega-3s to your diet without changing your eating habits. Most brands provide about 600 mg of omega-3s per recommended dose.
- Brussels sprouts: Brussels sprouts may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of omega-3s, but like many other cruciferous green vegetables they are a good source of the fatty acids our bodies need. A 1 cup serving provides us with over 10% of our daily value.
- Tuna: Tuna is another great seafood source for omega-3s, but the amount per serving can vary depending on canned vs. fresh and even the variety of canned, so be sure to read the labels.
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a great plant source of omega-3s, with just under 5 grams per ounce. By weight, chia seeds even provide more omega-3s than salmon.
- Sardines: Canned sardines are an easy way to add more omega-3s to your diet, in a four ounce serving they provide just under two grams.
- Watercress: Just like brussels sprouts, watercress is another great green source of omega-3s. A 100-gram serving of watercress provides 23 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Grass-fed beef: Unlike grain-fed cows, meat coming from grass-fed animals is high in omega-3s because of the grass and plants they eat. While still significantly lower in fatty acids than most fish sources, a serving of grass-fed beef provides 35 mg.
- Soybeans: Soybeans (and soybean products such as tofu) are a good source of omega-3s, with over 40% of our RDV in a one cup serving.
There are many great sources of omega-3s that can easily be added to our diets. It is important to make sure you are getting a good amount of these essential fatty acids to keep your heart, and the rest of your body, functioning properly. From fish to leafy greens, making omega-3s part of our meals is as simple as making a delicious salad.