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 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.


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.


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).


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.


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.

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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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.


9/19/2012 7:33:42 AM

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


9/19/2012 7:23:21 AM

skip the enriched eggs - buy pastured ones instead!


9/19/2012 6:55:16 AM

krill oil pills


9/19/2012 5:40:04 AM

Don't forget tuna (fresh or frozen,not tinned), mackerel and trout, too. I think Cod has them as well..?

And of course, flaxmeal -- ground meal is better than the whole seeds, since you can digest and get the good "stuff" better.


9/19/2012 5:28:48 AM

TRYINGHARD54's SparkPage
I dont care for the taste of salmon.


9/19/2012 3:26:28 AM

GLASS2ME's SparkPage
If the fish is too fishy try soaking fish in milk for an hour or so before cooking. Rinse the milk off then prepare normally.


9/19/2012 2:56:31 AM

Love and eat all of them


9/19/2012 1:48:40 AM

HALFSWEDE76's SparkPage
The very best way to cook most fish is to poach it.You can use a herb in the water or spice with salmon dill is the best.We have always caught our own fish off the coast of N.W. wa.Clean it very well and fast. bleed it on the boat it will not be strong. I miss this so much my husband passed a way in2008 and I don't get that anymore. My family is from Norway when I visit my sister there they have vary fresh salmon there and it is out of very cold water which also makes a difference. Fish cooks very fast don't dry it out.


8/10/2012 3:44:46 AM

IAMGOJO's SparkPage
I buy salmon at the end of the day if it has been reduced. I can't afford it otherwise. I rinse it and put it in a microwave friendly polythene bag. I put the bag on a dish and pierce it a couple of times to let the steam out and to keep the interior of the microwave clean. I microwave it from 3 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Eat straight away or let cool and have with salad or as a sandwich filler. Delicious!


7/23/2012 3:56:38 PM

I love salmon, but the best foods always seem to be the most expensive.


7/12/2012 7:08:02 PM

I have been cooking with olive oil and it is great tasting as well as healthy for me


6/19/2012 12:01:53 PM

i love salmon and i usually spiced it down and keep in the refridgerator over night before cooking, and it taste great when you grill.
I combine a dash of thyme, with grated fresh garlic, chopped yellow pepper, chopped shallots, and a teaspoon of lime, add a T/spoon of soya oil, then pour on the salmon in a bowl or a ziplock and keep overnight before grilling.


5/23/2012 4:00:48 PM

JESLAMB77's SparkPage
PUALANI1 - I always hated salmon because of its strong fishy flavor, too, until I found this marinade recipe!

Sprinkle your salmon fillets thoroughly with lemon pepper.

In a ziploc bag combine:
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C water
2 T Worchester Sauce
2 T minced garlilc (I like the kind in the jar - so easy!)
1 T grated ginger

Seal the bag and shake well to combine. Add the seasoned fish and seal the ziploc bag after squeezing out as much air as you can. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 6 hours. Grill to your desired degree of doneness and enjoy!


2/29/2012 10:08:23 AM

PUALANI1's SparkPage
Patty, I have a hard time with salmon as well. Here are a couple of ways I fix it. We live in California so we grill our salmon most of the time so as to avoid fish smell in the house.

Pesto or Basil marinated salmon. Chop basil or use a couple tablespoons pesto, olive oil, finely chopped garlic. Marinate salmon about 1 hour (or less), grill. My husband likes to put foil on the grill so that the fire doesn't flare up from the fat. You could bake it in the oven as well.

Miso Glazed Salmon - Use the lightest colored miso you can find. Mix a couple tablespoons with a little white wine (to thin it just a bit), Mirin or sake. Ssome people like to add brown sugar or honey. Marinate at least 1 hour and up to 24 (in the refer of course). Grill or bake. Serve with sauteed bok choy and rice. Yummm

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