7 Super Sources of Omega 3s

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7 Super Sources of Omega 3's

Written by Nicole Nichols, Health Educator

Omega-3 fatty acids are all the rage these days. Why? Because extensive research indicates that these heart-healthy fats may play a key role in keeping our brains and bodies healthy. A nutritious diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation, prevent heart disease and arthritis, positively impact behavior and cognitive function, and even help you look better (thanks to its skin enhancing properties).

There are actually three types of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are collectively referred to as omega 3s. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in plant sources, while DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are found in fish and shellfish. Include the following foods in your diet to benefit from the amazing health-enhancing properties of all types of omega 3s.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed is the richest source of ALA. Meet your omega 3 needs with 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed (3,800 mg of omega 3s). Learn more about storing and using flaxseed. Don't stop with this seed! Pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds also contain ALA.

Salmon

This coldwater fish contains between 900 and 1,800 mg of DHA and EPA per 3-oz serving. While salmon is the most talked about source of omega 3s, the same size serving of lake trout can contain more (1,700 mg), while herring, halibut and flounder are also good sources of omega 3s. Aim for 2 servings (3-4 ounces cooked portion) of fish weekly. Learn more about fish selection and safety.

Enriched Eggs

Omega 3-enriched eggs contain all three types of omega-3 fatty acids, thanks to adding flaxseed or algae to the diets of egg-producing hens. These specialty eggs contain about 60-150 milligrams of omega 3s per egg. That may seem like a small amount compared to these other sources, but it's still three times the omega 3s you'd find in ordinary eggs, making enriched eggs another convenient way to get your omega 3s if you're not a fish eater. Up to 4 of these eggs weekly can easily fit into your heart-healthy lifestyle, according to the American Heart Association. Learn more about the nutrition profile of eggs.

Walnuts

Another excellent source of ALA (2,600 mg in 1 oz), walnuts can be sprinkled on salads, cereal, oatmeal and added to your favorite baked goods. Other nuts that contain omega 3s include pecans and butternuts (also called white walnuts).

Soybeans

You don't often hear about this plant source of omega 3s, but one serving of cooked soybeans contains more omega 3s (in the form of ALA) than some coldwater fish! Tofu, which is made from soybeans, contains omega 3s, too, but only about one-third as much as the whole cooked beans do. Add them to casseroles, soups, burritos or any other recipe that normally calls for beans.

Sardines

This tiny fish are rich in DHA and EPA, and less expensive than other types of fish. Add them to sandwiches, pizzas, salads or as a topping for snack crackers or bread. Since canned sardines are higher in sodium, balance out your meal with low sodium fruits and veggies.

Canola Oil

Less expensive than olive oil, canola oil can also withstand higher cooker temperatures. This heart-healthy oil contains 1,300 mg of omega 3s per tablespoon (more than olive oil), but both make excellent choices for increasing your consumption of the omega 3 ALA.

Sources
How can I get more omega 3 fatty acids in my daily meals? from World's Healthiest Foods.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids, from World's Healthiest Foods.

This content has been reviewed and approved by Becky Hand, MS, licensed and registered dietitian.

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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FASTGAL

10/12/2010 5:30:12 PM

Glad to know that flounder is a good source of Omega 3 since I'm not a fan of Salmon.

DONNASEEFEE

10/12/2010 3:56:38 PM

I'm so glad to see these all condensed in one group. Thanks

COOPIE1212

10/12/2010 3:21:47 PM

COOPIE1212's SparkPage
Great info. Thanks.

SANDALWOOD108

10/12/2010 3:09:26 PM

SANDALWOOD108's SparkPage
The only cooking oils that Dr. Mercola recommends are coconut (very expensive) and olive. The rest break down under high heat too easily. Peanut oil is high in omega-6, which throws off the balance between omega-6 and omega-3. We need more omega-3 than omega-6.

MINIMOE1

10/12/2010 2:32:33 PM

MINIMOE1's SparkPage
Canola oil is a healthy option. Check the reputable sources already suggested by others.

SONSET

10/12/2010 2:23:53 PM

I lived in England where they grow the rape seed that canola is made from. We all thought we had the flu. found out that it makes people very ill. they only feed it to the sheep for fattening them up. I won't use it after our experience. I use olive oil,UDO's oils, and take oil that my doctor recommends. If you get a chance read what UDO"s says about oil. It's the most informative I've found on the subject.

SAMSUETWO

10/12/2010 1:17:57 PM

Canola oil is not the onlygenetically modified product we need to be concerned with.
Soy beans in this country are now over 90% GMO.
Aside from that soybeans are not the health food it is reported to be.
Un fermented soy beans are not good for you.
Here is a link to a booklet you can download from Dr Mercola's website.
http://www.mercola.com/Downloads/bonus/d
angers-of-soy/download.aspx
He is not the only one that says soy in sot a health food,
Do the research before you start eating large quantities of soy products.

TRYNAGAINN010

10/12/2010 1:06:24 PM

Good information - most of these things I like so it will not be hard to make sure they are regular parts of my diet

SIDDGAMES

10/12/2010 12:54:56 PM

Newmichele - you're quoting the false claim already mentioned by previous commenters, and debunked here (again): http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/canol
a.asp

However, for those concerned about that kind of stuff, more troubling is the fact that Monsanto's Roundup Ready canola is widely used. Those who try to avoid foods with heavy pesticide use might look elsewhere for their Omega-3s. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate#H
umans)

BAILEYSMOM7

10/12/2010 12:52:26 PM

Love to see all the vegetarian ways to get O3!

ANNESYLVIA

10/12/2010 12:47:35 PM

ANNESYLVIA's SparkPage
Thank you

KSASI48

10/12/2010 12:10:14 PM

KSASI48's SparkPage
good article

TIMRAY

10/12/2010 11:32:43 AM

TIMRAY's SparkPage
i put my self on this supplement decades ago, i also made mom take them. i have no issues with blood pressure and mom is 92. she has out lived her siblings date of passing by 7 years, lives alone and the only thing we assist her with is cleaning...the rest she does herself.

CLAYKEEPER

10/12/2010 11:12:33 AM

CLAYKEEPER's SparkPage
Thank you for this article. I like the idea of supplementing my diet with natural vitamins.... our food is so often genetically modified who know what we eat ?

KAMMER2

10/12/2010 10:58:20 AM

KAMMER2's SparkPage
Wow some great info ~ I was just looking yesterday for different ways to get Omega3 in my diet seeinghow I am not big at all on seafood.

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