Omega-3s are “essential” fatty acids that provide amazing health perks. Unfortunately, our bodies are not capable of producing them, so we need to find food sources that are rich in this important nutrient.
Luckily, many of these food sources are not difficult to find, making it even easier for us to add them to a healthy diet!
So, get yourself ready to take down notes! Find out which seeds, fish, and veggies contain significant amounts of omega-3, so you can start adding them to your grocery shopping list, and well-balanced diet.
As a bonus, we’ve prepared some ideas for you on how you can enjoy them in your daily nutrition!
What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Why are They Important?
First things first. Before we jump into the list of best sources of omega-3, let us first try to understand what this nutrient is and why is it good for us.
Omega-3 is a type of fat that is beneficial to our health. Basically, there are three omega-3 fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alpha-linolenic acid (AHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
All of these omega-3s play a crucial role in promoting our wellness. The health benefits of omega-3s are abundant and impressive.
These fatty acids can enhance cognitive function, promote eye health, prevent the risk of cardiovascular diseases, strengthen bones, fight inflammation, and even reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children.
But if there’s one thing omega-3 is popularly known for, it is its ability to support heart health.
Omega-3 is considered a key nutrient for a healthy heart because it helps reduce triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood clots, and increase the levels of HDL or good cholesterol.
As a result, the risk of heart diseases is significantly lowered.
The benefits of omega-3 cannot be overstated. There’s no wonder why many people are constantly in the look for omega-3 sources to reap these amazing health perks.
Some people opt to take omega-3 supplements to get the recommended daily intake of combined EPA and DHA. But many still prefer to get this important nutrient from whole foods, and we’ve rounded up the top 10 omega-3 sources for you!
When it comes to omega-3-rich foods, salmon is a no-brainer. It is prized for its rich omega-3 content and other key nutrients including magnesium, B vitamins, potassium, protein, and selenium.
Due to its impressive nutritional profile, salmon boasts extensive health benefits, too. These wellness perks range from boosting cognitive function to promoting weight loss to reducing the risk of cancer!
How to enjoy salmon in a healthy diet: You can bake, poach, grill or smoke your salmon just the way you want it. For best ideas, you can search for yummy salmon recipes online.
Steamed beans and healthy veggies usually complement the flavors of this oily fish.
Shellfish are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Oysters, in particular, are dense in important nutrients like zinc and iron.
And they deliver amazing health perks, too! From promoting faster healing of wounds to boosting immunity and improving blood circulation, oysters prove worthy to be enjoyed cooked or uncooked.
How to enjoy oysters in a healthy diet: How you enjoy oysters pretty much depends on you. Others want to experiment with them on different recipes, but most people prefer to it them raw.
If you want to consume them cooked, though, you can try making Fried Oysters, Char-Grilled Oysters or the famous Oyster Rockefeller!
3. Flax Seeds
Lignans, in particular, are most abundant in flax seeds. These plant compounds (polyphenols) have been found to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and even cancer.
Several studies also found proof that flax seeds help to combat diabetes, inflammation, and hot flashes in menopausal women.
How to enjoy flaxseeds in a healthy diet: The good news is you can enjoy flax seeds in various ways and consequently, their health perks, too!
You can add a few tablespoons of ground flax seeds to your smoothies, oatmeal, soups, casseroles, and baked goods!
4. Chia Seeds
If flax seeds aren’t your thing, you can savor another healthy seed: chia. This gluten-free seed is prized for its impressive nutritional profile and powerful health benefits.
Not only are chia seeds a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids but other key compounds as well such as calcium, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and essential amino acids. All of these contribute to chia’s wellness-boosting powers!
How to enjoy chia seeds in a healthy diet: Chia seeds are also known to help promote weight loss. Some people enjoy mixing chia seeds with water to make what is popularly known as chia detox water.
Others, meantime, enjoy chia pudding or adding these mighty seeds to their baked goods, oatmeal, and yogurts!
Soybeans are another healthy pick for wellness! They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens.
With their rich nutritional value, soybeans are able to help reduce menopausal symptoms, protect against coronary heart disease, lower blood pressure, prevent the risk of osteoporosis, and manage endometriosis.
How to enjoy soybeans in a healthy diet: You can incorporate soybeans into your main dishes like vegetable soups and stews, or toss them in your nutritious salad!
Aside from being among the top 10 protein sources on the planet, eggs also belong to the leading omega-3 sources list.
They contain both essential compounds aside from vitamins B6 and B12, betaine, choline, folate, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.
Eggs have also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, better eye health, and weight loss. Remember, though, to look for omega 3-enriched eggs as their omega-3 content depends on what kind of chicken was fed.
How to enjoy eggs in a healthy diet: Eggs are also versatile, making them an easy addition to many yummy recipes.
While you can simply poach, fry, boil, bake, and scramble them, eggs can also be easily incorporated into many tasty recipes like the Spanish tortilla, Eggs Florentine pizza, and Chorizo Scotch quail eggs!
There’s a good reason why Popeye loves spinach so much.
This green veggie is packed with many of the vital nutrients that our bodies need such as vitamins A, C, E and K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, and potassium.
Spinach consumption has been linked to stronger muscles, better vision, and enhanced cognitive function.
Several studies also found spinach to be beneficial in fighting inflammation, regulating blood pressure, improving metabolism, and boosting bone health.
How to enjoy spinach in a healthy diet: Spinach makes a nutritious addition to soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and wraps. You can also throw a handful of spinach into your smoothies or omelets and scrambles!
Cauliflower is another nutrient-dense veggie that’s worthy to be added to a healthy diet.
It is a rich source of phytochemicals, anti-inflammatory properties, and other key nutrients such as dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, and soluble sugar.
Cauliflower has been thought to promote weight loss, fight cancer, boost heart health, enhance cognitive function, and support your body’s detoxification abilities.
How to enjoy cauliflower in a healthy diet: You can replace your regular white rice with cauliflower rice or throw it into a food processor to make a cauliflower pizza crust.
You can also make cauliflower tortillas and even cauliflower mac and cheese!
9. Mustard Seeds
Aside from omega-3 fatty acids, mustard seeds also contain significant amounts of magnesium, selenium, and dietary fiber, all of which have health-promoting effects.
Due to these important compounds, mustard seeds help to relieve the symptoms of rheumatic arthritis, migraine, respiration congestion, and nightshades.
The other important nutrients contained in mustard seeds also help to prevent diseases from occurring.
How to enjoy mustard seeds in a healthy diet: Mustard seeds are typically used as you would black pepper, so they are commonly added to tempering dishes.
They can also be incorporated into meat and fish recipes, salad dressings, and be used for garnishing.
Last but definitely not least are walnuts! These nuts are also a nutritional powerhouse, containing significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and protein.
They are also packed with generous health perks, from reducing inflammation to promoting a healthy gut and preventing the risk of certain cancers.
Some studies also suggest that walnuts are great for weight loss since they help control your appetite.
How to enjoy walnuts in a healthy diet: You can snack on walnuts or add them to your salads and side dishes. You can also serve them with sweet potatoes or bake a walnut bread!
Omega-3 fatty acids are indeed essential compounds that we need to enjoy just a little bit more. By adding these omega-3-rich foods to your diet, you are sure to reap the amazing health benefits they come with!
Remember, though, to consume them in moderate amounts as excessive consumption may also lead to health problems, and mix them in a well-balanced diet along with other nutrient-dense foods.