Flax, Hemp, Chia Seeds

Good Sources of Omega 3 – That aren’t Fishy

Omega 3 Fatty Acids – why should you care about them? Most people now know the value of these amazing healthy fats. They are anti-inflammatory which mean they are heart healthy and can protect everyone from cardiovascular disease. And despite the fact that the body needs these fats, it can’t manufacture them on its own, so we have to consume them. Did someone just say I can have fat?? Seriously, these fats can help you live longer and stay stronger, so why not?! While many have ensured that they consume more fish weekly or even take an omega 3 fish oil supplement, there are countless of us that either choose not to eat fish or can’t stand the fishy aftertaste of that supplement. Not to mention, our oceans will thank us, when the fish supply hasn’t been destroyed. So what are some good sources of omega 3 – that aren’t fishy??

Good Sources of Omega 3

  1. Seeds – like flaxseed, chia seed, hemp seed.
    • Flaxseed – Quite possibly the best plant based source of omega 3 fatty acids, flaxseed should be ground or consumed as oil form for best absorption. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “flaxseed has many potential heart-disease fighting benefits:
      • Reduces blood triglyceride values.
      • Neutral effect on the good cholesterol, HDL.
      • Reduces blood pressure.
      • Reduces platelet aggregation (clot formation) within arterial lining.
      • Reduces inflammatory response.
      • May protect against stroke.”

      In addition, flaxseed is full of fiber which make them super healthy and often used as a substitute for eggs in baking.

    • Chia Seed – While they don’t pack the omega 3 punch of flaxseed, chia seeds offer a healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids balanced with calcium. They are even more rich in omega 3 fatty acids when consumed as chia seed oil. Add to your morning oatmeal or smoothie for a great way to add texture which all the anti-inflammatory benefits!
    • Hemp Seed – While whole hempseeds are loaded with omega 3s, hempseed oil actually offers the perfect 3:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 that our body needs. And vegans and vegetarians particularly love hemp seeds, as they are one of the few sources of complete protein, offering all the essential amino acids in this small seed!
  2. Walnuts and Walnut Oil
    • It’s true, all nuts do offer some level of omega 3s and therefore are heart healthy, but walnuts are the clear winner! “A 2006 study reported that walnuts are as effective as olive oil at reducing inflammation and oxidation in the arteries after a fatty meal, and a 2009 meta-analysis found that diets rich in walnuts significantly decreased total and LDL cholesterol levels.”
  3. Greens
    • While not the highest volume of omega 3s, greens do offer a good portion of these heart protectors, and can be easily consumed in salad or cooked form. Specifically, romaine, spinach, arugula and also purslane offer healthy doses omega 3s. Purslane is unique in that it is a green that offers a bit more fat, making it the best leafy green source of omega 3s. If you can’t stomach a spinach salad, try our Berry Green Smoothie or our Simply Perfect Spinach Pancakes to get your greens.

      Simply Perfect Spinach Pancakes

      Simply Perfect Spinach Pancakes

  4. Beans
  5. Cabbage
    • Ok, biggest shocker for me when I was researching this topic – cauliflower is a form of cabbage! Who knew?! And it is the biggest source in this family of omega 3 fatty acids. No wonder it is the trendiest vegetable of 2017?! Broccoli, boy choy and Brussels sprouts are all good sources of omega 3 fatty acids as well. These offer the best balance of omega 6 to omega 3s, but the classic cabbages do provide omega 3s as well. If you are looking for a heart healthy alternative to pasta, try our Cabbage Pesto Pasta.

      Cabbage Pesto Pasta

      Cabbage Pesto Pasta

  6. Winter Squash
    • Acorn squash, butternut squash and pumpkin are all rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are simply delicious on any night of the week! The best part – usually everyone in the family, including toddlers – can get down with squash, as long as it is cooked properly. Try our Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pie Pancakes or Pumpkin Spice Smoothie to bolster your omega 3 with our favorite squash!

      Vegan Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

      Vegan Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

While salmon and other fish may be some of the best animal sources of omega 3 fatty acids, vegans and vegetarians can take comfort in knowing that they can reap the benefits of these amazing anti-inflammatory agents while consuming these delicious foods. And they don’t have to swallow those nasty tasting fish oil supplements. Eat a variety, choose wisely and stay heart healthy!

References:

Heal with Food

One Green Planet

Cleveland Clinic

 

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