There are three kinds of omega-3 fats: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which are among the most important nutrients that have many functions in our body. They are crucial to maintain good health. However, our bodies cannot make omega-3. Therefore, it is of vital importance to include foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet.
Here is just general info:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is omega-3 fatty acid of plant origin that can be found in flaxseed, canola oil, English walnuts, rich in omega-3 eggs
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is omega-3 fatty acid of animal origin that can be found in fatty fish, krill oil, fish oils, marine animals, seaweeds, omega-3 eggs
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is also omega-3 fatty acid of animal origin that can be found in fatty fish, krill oil, fish oils, marine animals, seaweeds, omega-3 eggs, dairy products
6 Best Sources of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats
Caviar consists of fish eggs, or roe. It is widely regarded as a highly luxurious food item, and is most often used in small quantities as a starter, taster or garnish. Caviar is high in choline and exceptionally low in omega-6 fatty acids. Caviar has about 7g of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA + EPA), or 1.1g per tablespoon.
Fish is among the healthiest foods on the planet. Mother Nature loaded it with important nutrients, such as protein, fats, minerals and vitamins. Fish is also the world’s best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important to maintain your body healthy and your brain sharp.
- Atlantic salmon – 1g of DHA + EPA in grams per 100 grams of serving
- Atlantic herring – 2.0g
- Pacific mackerel, mixed species – 8g
- Atlantic sardine – 0g
- Trout, swordfish, sea bass – 9g
A word of caution: Today, the vast majority of the fish supply is contaminated with industrial toxins and pollutants, such as heavy metals and radioactive substances. Mercury in fish is a special concern: the highest concentrations of mercury are found in large carnivorous fish like tuna, sea bass, and marlin. Avoid canned tuna – an independent testing by the Mercury Policy Project (http://mercurypolicy.org/) found that the average mercury concentration in canned tuna is far over the “safe limits”.
- Mussel – 8g of DHA + EPA in grams per 100 grams of serving
- Lobster – 5g
- Alaskan king crab – 0.4g
- Oyster – 0.4g
- Shrimp – 3g
Fish oil and krill oil are the two major sources of animal-based omega-3 fats. But there are lots of reasons to suggest that krill oil offers superior benefits. Krill are the largest biomass in the world and can be found in all oceans. Antarctic krill, by far the most abundant, is under the management of an international organization of 25 countries known as the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Antarctic krill biomass is using strict international precautionary catch limit regulations, reviewed regularly to assure sustainability. No shortage of krill has ever been forecasted by CCAMLR.
Grass itself is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. So when cows or even bison eat a grass-based diet, the resulting meat ends up being a good source of the healthy fatty acids.
When farmers feed their hens flaxseeds, fish oil, or even algae, hens lay eggs with more omega-3 fatty acids in them. Look for a carton marked “rich in Omega 3” the next time you are at the grocery store
15 Best Sources of Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats
Remember, foods of plant origin provide you only with one type of omega-3 fatty acids – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), NOT with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). That fact is of a great concern for vigans.
Flaxseeds are probably the best and definitely the most well-known plant-based source of omega-3 for vegans that tops our list: 100g of raw edible portion contains about 23g of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). Recently, strains of flaxseed oils have become available which contain approximately 70% by weight of the oil as ALA which is significantly higher than the 50-55% found in conventional flax oil varieties.
A handful of walnuts halves contains 100% of your fat daily intake – 65g of total fat in 100g!!! Moreover, about 70% of those fats are omega-3 essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Of all the nuts out there, walnuts are the omega-3 champs. Walnut is one of the healthiest foods that Mother Nature created – almost a perfect package of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, plant sterols, and antioxidants. In ancient times walnuts were the symbol of intellectuality. And now we know that it’s not only because of their resemblance with human brain, but also because they make our brain healthy and sharp.
Seaweeds, especially wakame and spirulina, are the only vegan foods that naturally have small amounts of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid ) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Chia seeds are loaded with Omega 3, calcium, fiber, and manganese but only recently have gotten proper attention.
Hemp seeds have a great Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio.
Consider swapping your olive oil salad dressing for mustard oil instead simply because mustard oil has 800mg Omega 3 and 2000mg Omega 6 in a tablespoon (compare to 100mg Omega 3 and 1300mg Omega 6 found in olive oil!). TIP: Usually, you can find mustard oil in Indian food stores.
Surprisingly but truly – winter squash is a good source of Omega 3
It turns out that leafy greens not only are good sources of calcium and iron but also a decent source of Omega 3 too.
Cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are relatively rich in Omega 3
Berries are not only good sources of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but they also are also a good vegetarian source of Omega 3. Blueberries top the list.
All popular herbs and spices have a great Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. Cloves, oregano, marjoram and tarragon are the best. Unfortunately, we can eat only a little bit of them, far from enough to meet our daily needs.
Mangoes are one of the few vegetarian sources that have less Omega 6 than Omega 3
Like mangoes, honeydew melons also have less Omega 6 than Omega 3
Although beans don’t have as much Omega 3 as seeds or nuts, they still can help you meet your daily needs of it while avoiding excess Omega 6.
It is always best to get your nutrients from food first. But, if you are running low on Omega 3, then you can use supplements – lots of them are available now
TIP: Keep in mind that in foods exposed to air, unsaturated fatty acids are vulnerable to oxidation and rancidity.
- http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=185895 (Fish Consumption and Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death)
- http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1439-0396.2011.01135.x/abstract (A krill oil supplemented diet reduces the activities of the mitochondrial tricarboxylate carrier and of the cytosolic lipogenic enzymes in rats)
- http://articles.mercola.com/omega-3.aspx (Your Practical Guide to Omega-3 Benefits and Supplementation)