Fish oil supplements are one of the most popular ways to increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids. However, there are another omega 3 fatty acids sources, such as walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds.
Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids is one way to get more of these healthy fats into your diet. There are many different types of fish that contain omega-3s, and they all have their pros and cons. This article will go over some of the best sources of omega-3s, including salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, herring, mackerel, and trout. It will also discuss how to cook them so you can enjoy them at home.
What Are Fish Oils?
Omega-3 oils come from certain kinds of seafood like oily coldwater fish or warm water fish. They’re polyunsaturated fat called “omega-3” because it has three double bonds on its carbon chain. The first two double bonds make up an essential part of our bodies: they help with cell growth, immune system function, hormone production, blood clotting, and brain development. But the third bond makes omega-3s unique among fats; it helps prevent heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels while increasing good ones.
How Much Do We Need?
The recommended daily amount for adults is 1 gram per day of EPA + DHA combined. That means if you eat 2 grams of fish oil every day, you should be getting about half of what you need each week. If you want to take advantage of additional benefits beyond just helping lower triglycerides, taking 4–6 grams of fish oil may provide even greater health benefits.
Types Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are several forms of omega-3 fatty acids found in food. Some people prefer eating only ALA from plant sources like soybeans, but others find that consuming both ALA and EPA/DHA provides better results than either alone. Here are the main differences between the various types of omega-3 fatty acids:
ALA – Found naturally in plants, this form of omega-3 is converted into EPA and DHA when eaten. Studies show that ALA doesn’t seem to offer any added benefit compared to eating fish oil capsules containing EPA and DHA.
EPA – A long-chain omega-3 derived primarily from marine animals, EPA is considered the gold standard of omega-3s due to its reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health.
DHA – An essential component of human brains, DHA is another long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that improves cognitive performance and reduces risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Which Type Is Best For Me?
If you already consume plenty of omega-3s through eggs, meat, dairy products, nuts, beans, etc., you don’t necessarily need to supplement fish oil. Studies suggest that those who regularly eat fish tend to have higher concentrations of omega-3s in their body tissues. So if you do choose to add fish oil to your diet, look for brands that use wild-caught fish rather than farmed varieties. Wild-caught fish often have higher omega-3s since they live in cleaner waters where pollutants aren’t present.
Cooking Methods To Maximize Benefits
When cooking fish, try to avoid overcooking it. This can cause oxidation and destroy some of the beneficial properties of omega-3s. Instead, cook at medium heat until done. Another way to preserve nutrients is to freeze fish before using it as a source of omega-3s instead of refrigerating it. Freeze raw fish overnight, so all the moisture evaporates. Then place frozen fish in Ziploc bags and store them in the freezer for later consumption. When thawing out frozen fish, let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
Other Ways To Get Your Daily Needs
Fish oil supplements are one option available to get more omega-3s into your diet. However, there are other ways to increase intake without having to buy pills. One easy solution is to include flaxseed or chia seeds in your meals. These two foods contain high levels of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fat that converts easily into EPA and DHA once consumed.
Flaxseeds also contain lignans, compounds that help prevent cancer by reducing estrogen activity. Chia seeds, on the other hand, are rich in fiber and protein. They also contain antioxidants called flavonoids that protect against heart disease and stroke.
Both these foods are great additions to salads, smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods, soups, stews, stir-fries, pasta dishes, sandwiches, wraps, pizza crust, muffins, pancakes, waffles, bread, crackers, cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream, milkshakes, puddings, sauces, dressings, dips, spreads, condiments, salad dressing, marinades, and many other recipes.
How Much Do I Need?
You will likely not notice much difference in how well you feel after adding omega-3 fats to your diet unless you start low. The best starting point would probably be around 500 mg twice a day. After a few weeks, you might decide to bump up the dosage to 1000 mg twice a day. It’s always good to check with your doctor first, though.
What Are My Side Effects From Taking Fish Oil Supplements?
Fish oils come with side effects because they’re natural substances. Some people experience mild gastrointestinal upset when taking large doses of fish oil. Other possible side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, skin rashes, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth, increased appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle aches, joint pains, numbness/tingling sensations, and mood changes. If any of these symptoms persist or worsen, stop taking fish oil immediately and consult your physician.
Is There A Difference Between Cod Liver Oil And Salmon Oils?
Cod liver oil contains vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K2, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, iron, copper, iodine, calcium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, lecithin, and amino acids such as arginine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, proline, serine, tyrosine, valine, alanine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, and ornithine. In addition, cod liver oil has reduced cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and body weight.
On the other hand, salmon oil contains higher amounts of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic fatty acids than cod liver oil. While both oils have similar benefits, studies show that consuming salmon oil provides better results than cod liver oil.
Are Vegetarian Sources Better Than Animal Source For Getting Enough Fatty Acids?
Vegetarians often struggle to get enough healthy fats from their diets. That’s why vegetarian sources like nuts, avocados, olives, soybeans, tofu, and peanut butter are recommended over animal products. Nuts are beneficial since they provide plenty of monounsaturated fats along with small amounts of polyunsaturated fats.
Avocado and olive oil are excellent choices too. Soybean oil is another popular choice among vegetarians due to its relatively balanced saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats ratio. Tofu is usually made from fermented soybeans, while peanuts are legumes. Peanut butter comes from ground roasted peanuts. All three of these food items are versatile options for vegans who want to add extra healthful fats to their diet.
Can Eat Too Many Fats Cause Heart Disease?
The American Heart Association recommends limiting dietary saturated fats to less than 10% of total calories per day. However, there isn’t sufficient evidence showing that eating more fat causes heart disease. Instead, it appears that high levels of LDL cholesterol increase risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases.
This includes elevated blood pressure, inflammation, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. People with type 2 diabetes tend to have lower HDL cholesterol levels, increasing their risk of developing coronary artery disease. Therefore, maintaining optimal lipid profiles can help prevent this condition.
How Much Should I Take Of Each Type Of Food To Get Most Essential Nutrients?
The amount of each nutrient depends on several things, including age, gender, activity level, metabolism rate, genetic makeup, and overall health status. For example, most adults need about 1 gram of protein daily, but some require double that amount. Similarly, women generally need slightly more protein than men do. Women also typically consume fewer carbohydrates than men do.
Adults should aim to get at least 50 grams of carbohydrates every day. Men should eat between 100 – 150 grams of carbs per day, depending on their individual needs. When choosing foods rich in essential nutrients, choose whole grains instead of refined ones.
Whole grains contain all nine essential macronutrients plus fiber. They also offer many essential minerals and antioxidants. Refined grains only contain four essential nutrients – namely, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and water. These foods lack fiber and other beneficial compounds found in whole grain foods.
Omega 3 Food Sources List
The best omega 3 fatty acids sources are cold-water fatty fish, flaxseed oil, walnuts, and chia seeds. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, which are essential for brain development and heart health. Flaxseed oil contains ALA, which is converted into EPA and DHA in the body. Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is also converted into EPA and DPA. Chia seeds contain ALA, which is also converted into DHA.
- Flax seeds (1 tbsp/15ml ground) 1.6 g ALA
- Flax seeds (1 tbsp/15ml whole) 2.4 g ALA
- Flaxseed oil (1 tsp/15ml) 2.5 g ALA Chia seeds
- Walnuts (1/4 cup/60ml halves) 2.3 g ALA
- Canola oil (1 tbsp/15ml) 1.28 g ALA
- Salmon: 3 ounces (85g) wild = 1.22 g DHA and 0.35 g EPA
- Mackerel: 3 ounces (85g) = 0.58 g DHA and 0.43 g EPA
- Herring: 3 ounces (85g) = 0.94 g DHA and 0.77 g EPA
Omega-3 Rich Food Recipes
Because I am a vegan, we will focus on eating more omega-3-rich seeds. I enjoy using chia, hemp, and flax because they’re affordable and so easy to add to my daily life. There are many ways to include them in your meals.
Mixed nut and seed crackers from Bon Appetit. These are an excellent substitute for Mary’s Organic Cracker. You’ll love how easy they are to make. Plus, they taste like dessert! Making your crackers isn’t hard at all. And if you want an extra delicious recipe, I’ve got an overnight chocolate chia seed pudding recipe in Eat More Plants Cook Book.
- 2 cups raw almonds or cashews
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ⅓ cup sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place nuts and seeds onto a prepared sheet. Bake until golden brown, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool completely. Once cooled, transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer back to bowl; add coconut flakes and mix well. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. Makes 4 servings.
Calories: 220 kcal | Fat: 19 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Sodium: 7 mg | Carbohydrates: 16 g | Fiber: 6 g Protein: 8 g
These recipes will help you incorporate flaxseeds into your diet without feeling deprived. Try them out as part of your breakfast routine. Or use these ideas to create new dishes. For instance, sprinkle flaxseeds over yogurt parfaits, stir them into oatmeal, toss them into salads, or even blend them into smoothies. The possibilities are endless.
Flax recipes are healthy and delicious. They are also easy to prepare. The flax seeds must be ground into flour using a coffee grinder. Then, mix them with water and cook for about 10 minutes. Finally, add salt and sugar, and serve. Here are three different ways to enjoy this versatile ingredient. Breakfast Ideas
Mix ½ teaspoon flaxseed meal with ¾ cup nonfat milk and top it off with fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches, apples, pears, etc. This makes a perfect quick breakfast that can easily be made ahead of time. It’s also very filling.
Try making a sandwich by spreading some almond butter on bread slices for lunch, then sprinkling flax meal on top. Add sliced banana and berries. Top with peanut butter and honey. Delicious!
Add flax meal to any salad dressing. Mix it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle it over pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa, or other grain.
Sprinkle flax meal over plain low-fat Greek yogurt—drizzle honey over it. Serve immediately so that the flax meal doesn’t get too dry.
Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
This simple snack combines protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Pumpkin seeds have been used medicinally since ancient times. Today, we know that they provide many benefits, including lowering cholesterol levels, improving digestion, boosting energy, regulating blood pressure, reducing inflammation, preventing cancer, strengthening bones, and protecting against cardiovascular disease.
These healthful properties make pumpkin seeds an excellent addition to our diets. To reap all their nutritional rewards, eat them regularly throughout the year. Studies show that eating more than 2 tablespoons per day may reduce risk factors associated with heart disease. So, if you want to include pumpkin seeds in your daily meals, here is how to do it. Ingredients 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
Omega 3 Rich Food List
This list includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, essential nutrients found only in fish oils. I was eating at least two portions of oily fish each week has been shown to lower the risk of coronary artery disease.
Fish contains high amounts of EPA and DHA, both of which help prevent clogged arteries. Other sources of these beneficial fats include walnuts, soybeans, corn, canola oil, eggs, and green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. If you don’t like seafood, there are plenty of plant-based options available. Try adding avocado to salads, stir-frying tofu, or even baking salmon fillets.
Fish Oil Benefits
According to researchers from Harvard University, taking just one gram of fish oil every day could significantly improve cognitive function among older adults. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed that people who took fish oil supplements had better memory recall compared to those who did not take fish oil. Another study conducted by scientists from Brigham Young University revealed that older women who consumed fish oil experienced less depression and anxiety during menopause.
Other Health Benefits Of Oily Fish
Eating fish helps protect us against several types of cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute research, they are consuming fish once a month reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer by up to 50%. Women who consume fish twice weekly experience fewer miscarriages. And pregnant mothers should consider incorporating fish into their diet because it lowers the risk of premature birth and improves fetal growth.
Healthier Ways To Get Your Daily Intake Of Healthy Fats
The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to no more than 7% of total calories while increasing consumption of polyunsaturated fats. The best way to get this balance right is through food choices rather than supplementing with pills. Here are some tips on choosing healthier fats:
- Eat nuts instead of butter
- Try using coconut milk instead of cream when making sauces
- Use olive oil instead of other cooking oils
- Add flaxseed meal to bread recipes
- Make sure to choose lean cuts of meat over fattier ones
- Choose whole-grain pasta over white flour varieties
- Read labels carefully, so you avoid hidden trans fats
Nuts Are Good For You Too!
If you’re looking for ways to add healthy fats to your diet without having to count grams, try almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
They contain monounsaturated fats, considered “good” fats because they raise HDL cholesterol levels while decreasing LDL cholesterol levels. Almonds also offer vitamin E, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, iron, folate, calcium, and fiber. Walnuts are perfect for brain development and overall well-being.
In conclusion, eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids is one way to get more of these healthy fats into your diet. Nuts are another great source of healthy fats but are careful about how much you eat since too many may increase blood pressure.
Eating oily fish like salmon can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Taking fish oil capsules or adding them to your meals will provide additional benefits such as improved mood and mental clarity.