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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CMBRONSON

6/5/2013 8:09:44 AM

CMBRONSON's SparkPage
Organic grapeseed oil is a good substitute if you need to use a higher heat ♥

CMBRONSON

6/5/2013 8:06:53 AM

CMBRONSON's SparkPage
Organic grapeseed oil is a good substitute if you need to use a higher heat ♥

ELVISINTHEHOUSE

6/5/2013 7:41:51 AM

ELVISINTHEHOUSE's SparkPage
Good article overall, with one caveat: If you're going to suggest people eat more soy you need to explain that it should be ORGANIC. If it isn't organic it is almost certainly from genetically modified soybeans, which our bodies don't treat the same. The Okinawans are the world’s longest-lived people, probably in part because of their diet. For more than five millennia, they’ve eaten whole, ORGANIC and fermented soy foods like miso, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, and edamame (young soybeans in the pod). All soy is not the same!

CASEYSAUER

6/5/2013 7:21:53 AM

CASEYSAUER's SparkPage
DH and I started using Chi seeds!

AISHAH7

2/21/2013 12:20:04 PM

OMG! thanks fellow Sparksters for the tip on Canola Oil. I went on a site CANOLA OIL DANGERS and believe me I WILL NOT substitute my olive oil for that. Good lord almighty. Nothings happening and I will be checking ingredients to see if this oil is added. I won't go fanatical but I will be aware. Thanks again you all.

AISHAH7

2/21/2013 11:42:11 AM

Well after reading some comments I think I'll stick with olive oil. What is up with Canola oil for real? I need to do some research for real. So let me get started on that now.

AISHAH7

2/21/2013 11:36:19 AM

Hey 3SISP JD, You are an inspiration. I am even more encouraged after reading your comment. Thanks. Aishah7

AISHAH7

2/21/2013 11:32:55 AM

Hi GMondello, You are definitely getting Omega in that salmon that you love.

AISHAH7

2/21/2013 11:30:02 AM

I am a lot wiser after reading this article. I will work on adding soybeans and flaxseed to my diet going forward. I love being a Sparkster. Spark site has motivated me in so many ways and I enjoy reading the informative articles. It was due to Spark that I became motivated to even exercise. When I started I could walk 10mins and that was about it. Now I walk up to 25 miles a week, do strength training 2 times a week and I've lost 2 dress sizes. I feel GREAT. now i can't go more than 2 days without exercising in some form. The way I get in my 25 walking miles a week is I get up about 4am. Walk 5 miles. Takes anywhere from 45 mins to an hour. Return home and get ready to start my workday. I have at least 2 hours between the time I return from walking and the time I have to even start getting ready for work. Some mornings after I walk I do a few exercises with my resistance band and jump rope. Wow! I never thought this would be me but here I am. Thank you, thank you thank you SPARK. I love you guys. In my opinion you're the best.

SUSANDK1

1/14/2013 11:38:17 PM

AWILLABLE- have you tried cutting out processed wheat or a gluten free diet? How about exercises? You didn't mention that you exercise in your comment. That should help. I know that when I add even a little extra walking or easy exercise, I lose weight more easily.

-SHOREIDO-

10/4/2012 5:49:46 PM

-SHOREIDO-'s SparkPage
I love grouper,Talapia and Salmon. I hope they have a bit of the omega in them! : )

-SHOREIDO-

10/4/2012 5:49:46 PM

-SHOREIDO-'s SparkPage
I love grouper,Talapia and Salmon. I hope they have a bit of the omega in them! : )

PINKANGEL73

10/4/2012 10:16:03 AM

PINKANGEL73's SparkPage
Thanks for the reminder Spark. I try to eat fish at least twice a week, seeded breads, almonds and pumpkin seeds.

To Awillable, I would check your portion sizes, weigh and track your food and see what stands out calorie wise. I have always eaten a mainly healthy diet with plenty of fluids but when I joined SP and started tracking I realised it was my carb portion sizes and especially bread that I needed to cut down. I am over 50 and unable to exercise a great deal due to arthritis (I hope this will change as I get lighter) but I am now steadily losing.

Alternatively, have you cut down too much? A friend of mine was struggling to lose weight and someone suggested she ate a bigger breakfast to kick start her system. She tried and it worked - she ended up losing 70 pounds.

I agree that regular exercise is very necessary for health and fitness, and helps weight loss a little by burning extra calories and speeding up your metabolism. But to lose a pound a week by exercise alone you would need to run for one hour or cycle for two hours every single day i.e. you need to burn off 500 calories every day. A recent study of a group of obese people showed that regular exercise without dieting resulted in zero weight loss.

MONTREAL12

10/3/2012 12:24:45 PM

MONTREAL12's SparkPage
Appreciate it!

3SISPJD

9/28/2012 3:45:00 AM

To AWILLABLE & anyone else trying to lose weight; eating "right", diet alone just is not going to do the trick especially after the age of 40. I am 62, 5'!'', and in a 7 month time span this past yr I lost 25-30 lbs from my max weight and increased my good HDL cholesterol from a very poor 24 to an excellent 91. So what did I do besides really revamping my diet?
Exercise, at least 5 days of the week. Mostly walking/hiking in the mountains with my dogs but also used some indoor mini portable exercise equipment.

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