The Best Plant-Based Foods For Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to our health. Keeping the heart healthy, the nervous system in check, and our cholesterol levels down, Omega-3s are a friend to the body. One of the best sources known for Omega-3 is fish. If you are vegetarian and vegan, however, this presents a problem. As someone who has primarily a vegetarian diet, I myself have had to be conscious of knowing where my Omegas are coming from.

In the case of Omega-3s, there are three types that are important to health: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). DHA and EPA are mostly found in fish and seaweed, whereas ALA is a plant based Omega-3. 

The good news is, however, our bodies can produce DHA and EPA from consuming ALA Omega-3. Of course, there is a catch. In order to increase the Omega-3s, you must decrease the Omega-6s. The reason is Omega-6 fatty acids may prevent the body from converting ALA into Omega-3s. If you are looking to increase your levels of Omega-3s, here are some rich food sources that can help.

1. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a power food! The tiny seeds are an incredible energy booster and have an unbelievable amount of fiber. With a single ounce, you can consume over 400mg of Omega-3.

2. Flaxseed

Flaxseeds -- as well as flaxseed oil -- are amazing for reaching your Omega-3 needs. The flaxseed is the most concentrated source of ALA. It is important, however, to grind them before eating -- otherwise your body won't break them down and benefit from the nutrients.

3. Greens

Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are an excellent source of Omega-3. Odds are if you're vegetarian or vegan you have no problem getting your important Omegas in from eating a giant, leafy salad.

4. Certain Oils

Hemp oil, olive oil, and flaxseed oil all contain Omega-3. When cooking with any of these, make sure the oil is fresh so the high temperature won't deplete the nutritional benefits.

5. Seaweed

Consuming seaweed has a multitude of health benefits just waiting to be unleashed. Among them is our friend the Omega-3. If you're vegan, it's important to add seaweed to your diet as it's the only vegan friendly source of EPA and DHA.

6. Walnuts

Unless you're allergic, it's easy to get Omega-3s from eating a handful of walnuts. As well as being a source of energy, walnuts can give you the Omega-3 boost you are in need of.

7. Winter Squash

The beauty of winter squash is that they keep well, allowing you to have a source of nutrients throughout a long, cold winter. There is over 300mg of Omega-3 per cup of cooked squash, so add some to the rotation.

Like all diets, it's important to know what you're eating and the nutrition you're consuming. Here's to better health!

Articles published by Basmati.com are no substitute for medical advice. Please consult your health care provider before beginning any new regimen. For more information, please visit our disclaimer page here.

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