Omega-3 fatty acids in a vegan diet? Here Are 9 Good Omega 3 Sources!
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the functioning of the brain and the nervous system and also have anti-inflammatory properties. We have to meet our need for omega-3 fatty acids through our diet, because our body cannot produce them itself. There are three forms of omega-3 fatty acids found in foods. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in fish, while alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is commonly found in plants. Health experts recommend eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week to get the necessary EPA and DHA dose. But what if you don’t like fish or just prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet?
Although our body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids on its own, it can convert some ALA into DHA or EPA. However, it is not clear whether omega-3 fatty acids from plant sources have the same effect on heart health. Here is a short list of the best omega 3 suppliers that are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Flax seeds are high in alpha-linolenic acid, as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytosterols, which can have additional health benefits. Flaxseed can be bought whole, broken or as flaxseed oil. Shredded flaxseeds are particularly popular in breakfast cereals or sprinkled over soups and salads. tip: Keep your flaxseeds and flaxseed oil in the refrigerator to keep them from going rancid.
Edamame are unripe harvested soybeans that are eaten as finger food or as a side dish. They are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, vitamins and fiber and are also high in protein. Edamame is often served in Japanese restaurants and is available in the freezer section of most grocery stores. tip: Serve edamame as a healthy afternoon snack.
Seeds and nuts are usually the best sources of healthy fats, and chia seeds are no exception. Aside from being high in ALA, the tiny seeds are a great source of fiber, as well as some vitamins and minerals. tip: Try chia seeds instead of flax seeds or as a healthy addition to a smoothie, cereal or salad.
Rapeseed oil is a versatile edible oil and also an excellent source of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Rapeseed oil can withstand high temperatures and is therefore well suited for deep-frying, baking and roasting. It has a mild taste, making it a suitable choice for use as an ingredient in dressings and sauces. tip: Use canola oil as a tasty alternative to olive oil.
When it comes to general nutrition, walnuts are one of the best nuts ever. They are among the front runners in omega-3 fatty acid content and are also rich in proteins, various vitamins and minerals. Walnuts are ideal as a snack, with salads, muesli and yoghurt or as a delicious ingredient in both baked goods and hearty dishes. Use walnut oil, for example, to make a delicious salad dressing. tip: Walnuts in their shells can be kept for about 12 months. For maximum freshness, store all nuts in a cool, airy and dark place.
Pumpkin seeds as a snack are an excellent choice to increase your ALA intake. They’re also high in calcium, magnesium, and protein, and high in fiber. tip: Buy pumpkin seeds that have already been peeled – they are much easier to eat.
Pine nuts are another good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, plus they’re high in protein, monounsaturated fats, manganese, and some B-complex vitamins. tip: An excellent starter is pesto made from pine nuts served on wholemeal bread.
The white beans also contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also an excellent vegan source of calcium. They are also high in fiber and manganese. tip: Always have a few cans of beans ready to use in soups or quick recipes.
Cannabis seeds won’t get you high, but they do provide many health benefits. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and minerals like iron and magnesium. Peeled hemp seeds can already be found in many health food stores or local grocery stores. Whether in smoothies or salads, the small seeds can be added to almost anything. tip: Simply use hemp seeds as an alternative to flax seeds.
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