What Are The Different Omega-3 Food Sources

What Are The Different Omega-3 Food Sources

Omega 3’s are vital components of every cell membrane in our body. They are necessary for good heart health, brain health, hormone health, and more. But there are different kinds of omega 3’s and different sources of them in our diet, so what are the best ways to get enough omega 3’s whether we are meat-eaters, vegetarians, or vegans?

First of all, it’s important to understand that there are 3 main omega 3 fatty acids

  • ALA
  • EPA
  • DHA.

All 3 of these are considered essential, meaning our body does not produce them on its own and they must be obtained from the diet.

ALA is a precursor to EPA and DHA, meaning your body can convert some ALA into the other two essential fatty acids, however the body’s ability to do so is limited. As little as 5% of the body’s intake of ALA is typically converted to EPA and less than 1% is converted to DHA.

This can be challenging for vegetarians and vegans because EPA and DHA are found almost exclusively in fish and seafood. So if you are not eating or supplementing these two fatty acids, it becomes vitally important that you get a good amount of ALA-rich foods in your diet so you can meet your body’s omega 3 needs.

 

So where can we best find these essential fatty acids in our diet?

Well, as mentioned above, fish and seafood are the best sources of EPA and DHA for those who consume meat. Salmon, tuna, herring, oysters, mussels, and crab are just some great foods for high omega 3 content. For the plant-based omega-3, some of the best sources are nuts and seeds, but there are also some beans and vegetables containing ALA.

  • Flaxseeds
  • chia seeds
  • hemp seeds
  • walnuts
  • tofu
  • edamame
  • navy beans
  • avocados
  • brussel sprouts

All of these foods are great additions to a vegetarian and vegan diet to ensure you are providing your body the building blocks it needs to produce valuable omega 3’s.
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