When you think of Omega-3 fatty acids, no doubt you immediately picture fish oil capsules or grass fed beef. While animal foods are the best sources of these fatty acids, the good news is that you can find them from veggies and plants as well. In fact, the plant sources of Omega-3s may actually be healthier for you in the long run, as they are lower in calories and saturated fats. Here are the best plants to deliver more vital Omega-3 fatty acids:
Flax seeds contain the same amount of Omega-3 fatty acids as you get from fish oil, making it one of the best plant-based Omega-3 sources on the planet. They’re a powerhouse food packed with protein, zinc, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber. They’ve been proven to reduce hypertension and combat high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions. It may not be the tastiest of the plant-based Omega-3 fatty acid foods, but flax seed oil contains highly bioavailable fatty acids that are easy for your body to digest and absorb.
Hemp is one of the most popular plant-based proteins, making it highly useful for vegetarians and vegans looking to increase amino acid intake. It’s also loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, thanks to the fact that they’re about 30% oil. You also get protein, zinc, magnesium, and iron from the seeds, not to mention a lot of dietary fiber.
Chia seeds are amazing little foods, and they’re loaded with all kinds of awesome nutrients. First off, they’re packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and Alpha Lipoic Acid, another antioxidant that works with Omega-3s to protect your heart and reduce oxidative stress. They’re also an amazing source of fiber—soluble and insoluble—and plant-based protein. To be healthier, definitely add more chia to your diet!
Of all the nuts, walnuts are probably the best thanks to their higher-than-average Omega-3 content. Walnuts are roughly 65% fat, with the rest being important minerals, protein, and fiber. Walnuts are one of the best “brain foods”, as they contain a lot of nutrients (including Omega-3s) that will improve brain health and cognitive function.
These miniature cabbage-looking cruciferous greens are one of the best of the veggie family. Not only do they deliver a hefty dose of Omega-3 fatty acids, but they also contain ALAs, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, and other important minerals.
This type of oil comes from algae, which turns out to be another awesome source of Omega-3 fatty acids. You’ll find that a serving of algal oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids on par with a serving of salmon. It has a similar EPA and DHA profile to fish and fish oil, making it excellent for your cardiovascular health.
Perilla oil comes from perilla seeds, and is a popular ingredient used in Korean cuisine. It’s also used as a cooking oil due to its rich flavors. It’s an excellent plant-based source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and it can help to increase alpha lipoic acids in the bloodstream, encouraging a healthier heart. It has an excellent profile of EPA and DHA, and can deliver all the fatty acids your body needs to combat oxidative stress. In a single tablespoon of the oil, you get about 9 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also available in capsule form for those who prefer to avoid swallowing oil by the spoonful. It’s not the easiest to find in the U.S., but you may be able to get your hands on a bottle of the oil at your local Korean grocery store.