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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AWILLABLE

9/19/2012 10:32:06 AM

I eat healthy, I take supplements, including omegas, etc, etc. I drink enough water and I'm still overweight. What's the problem here? My thyroid is fine. My doctor said if I didn't have diabetes she would say that I'm in good health. I can't seem to be able to shake of the weight. Any suggestions?

MIZINA730

9/19/2012 10:26:38 AM

TIMARI22 AND JSTROBEL, I agree with both of you. I'm going to recheck my facts on eggs. Flaxseed and algae don't sound too bad, but it's possible that what they're fed is rancid. Prevention magazine said that canola can be a source of omega-3 in eggs.They also said that if you can find a local person whose chickens are fed at pasture, those eggs will contain more omega-3. I take a pill and buy basic eggs.

I cook with coconut oil a little bit, olive oil a lot, take a brand of fish oil identified as low contaminant by Consumer Reports sold at Walmart, and krill oil. Canola oil is totally GMO and most soybeans are GMO. I choose to avoid those. I also contacted a company that produces large amounts of canola, and they said they bleach it after it's harvested.

AWILLABLE

9/19/2012 10:25:40 AM

I eat healthy, I take omega, I use chia seed etc etc. I also drink enough water, and I'm still overweight, What's wrong here.

JOYCE80

9/19/2012 10:08:37 AM

JOYCE80's SparkPage
I really liked the slide show spark put together. I read all 8 individual articles, & did enjoy the photos also. A photo stays in my mind, which reminds me to open my frig , use the chia seeds, use the flax, my wheat germ, & the costco's latest find in a 3 bean special that has the best, & the healthiest of beans, that promote the healthiest of the food groups.. Sure, they are high in carbs, but use in moderation in veggies,stews,&. So on.. Spark keep up the great articles & information to those of us who are really trying this weight journey in a downward trek.joyce80

TIMARI22

9/19/2012 9:38:18 AM

Soybeans -- really? Don't you know that soybeans and soy protein can slow thyroid and metabolism? Not a good idea for anyone wanting to lose weight. And why are you ignoring high quality fish oil, DHA supplements?

JPEARL127

9/19/2012 9:37:05 AM

JPEARL127's SparkPage
Need to use that flaxseed in the fridge and check to find Omega-3-enriched eggs.

KSPITZER11

9/19/2012 9:33:40 AM

KSPITZER11's SparkPage
My husband used Flaxseed in some of his baking. I guess I will tell him to up it in everything else too. I already us Olive Oil but hell if I am gonna use Canola Oil how can you even have this on here? I don't care for fish, nuts, or soy beans. What are other sources?

SILLYONTHEHILLY

9/19/2012 9:25:32 AM

SILLYONTHEHILLY's SparkPage
Fresh Salmon really is mild tasting and I like to cook it in olive oil.

JSTROBEL

9/19/2012 9:02:35 AM

JSTROBEL's SparkPage
I have read many studies on Canola oil and they all are negative. The biggest turn off is that it was initially used as an industrial lubricant and then refined for human use.
I do not use it, and I do not support the use of it at all.
I am surprised and shocked that Spark People would list it as a super source of Omega 3's.
I use Flaxseed oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil and unrefined natural coconut oil. Salmon is one of my favorite fish. I take supplements of flaxseed oil and kril oil.

TYBEELIB

9/19/2012 8:56:09 AM

Don't forget chia seeds. One tablespoon of chia seeds typically contains more than 2 grams of ALA, the plant based from of Omega 3's. It's the most nutrient dense form of omega 3's that I know of. I stir in 1 tbsp in a large glass of water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The seeds will be suspended in the water that has started to thicken. Drink it down. It's great for before a workout, and a good appetite suppressant too. you could add lemon juice & honey or a juice concentrate for flavor but I like it straight to save on calories.

SUNNYKEL

9/19/2012 8:45:45 AM

What about chia seeds? VERY high in Omega 3.

DIBRN5

9/19/2012 8:29:07 AM

DIBRN5's SparkPage
Just started using flax seed. I like it. Thanks for the reminder of other sources.

MIZINA730

9/19/2012 8:24:26 AM

I've read that eggs enriched with omega-3's are not a good bang for the buck. The source of omegas fed the chickens are low quality. Stay with ordinary eggs and spend your money on good supplements and other foods that are natural sources. Low quality fats are known to be full of free radicals.

SANDYCRANE

9/19/2012 7:33:42 AM

SANDYCRANE's SparkPage
Since I don't eat fish, I think I will go with the flax seeds and walnuts.

LIZABAKER

9/19/2012 7:23:21 AM

skip the enriched eggs - buy pastured ones instead!

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