The Best Plant-Based Sources of Omega-3
Regardless of age, your body needs a wide array of essential nutrients to keep it ticking. One of those important nutrients is an essential fatty acid known as Omega-3.
Omega-3 is one of the healthy fats that are essential to your overall health and wellbeing. It is vital for a number of bodily functions and is known to support brain and heart health as well as immune response. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids help your body absorb other vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Your body has the amazing ability to synthesize a number of the healthy fats it needs. However, this is not the case with omega-3, which means that the only way your body can get enough omega-3s is through your diet.
With that being said, the average American doesn’t consume enough omega-3s on a daily basis. This is because the typical American diet doesn’t include many foods that are high in omega-3s. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you may have an even harder time getting enough omega-3s, as seafood and fatty fish tend to be the go-to.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, there is good news, though. There are a number of plant-based foods that contain omega-3s. Before we get into that, it’s important to understand the different types of omega-3s and how your body uses them.
What Are The Main Types Of Omega-3?
While there are technically 11 types of omega-3 fatty acids, there are 3 types that are widely considered to be more important than the others.
- EPA – Also known as eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid that has been shown to support both cardiovascular and cognitive function. EPA is often referred to as a marine omega-3 because it is most commonly found in seafood. However, it is also found in certain types of freshwater fish and some dairy products.
- DHA – This is yet another animal-based type of Omega-3, also known as docosahexaenoic acid. It makes up an important part of your eye retinas and skin. It also plays a role in promoting brain development in kids and cognitive function in adults. DHA is most commonly found in the same sources as EPA.
- ALA – Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the type of omega-3 that is most commonly found in plant-based foods. The main purpose of ALA is to serve as a precursor for EPA and DHA, meaning that your body converts ALA to these two other types of omega-3s so it can be used by your body. Any ALA that isn’t used up by this process is simply stored in your body as a source of energy. Much like the other types of omega-3, ALA is known to support both cardiovascular and brain health. Chia seeds and flaxseed oil are two of the most common sources of ALA.
Vegan Sources of Omega-3
So, if two of the three main types of omega-3s are most abundant in animal products, where can you get omega-3s if you are vegan or vegetarian? Here are a few options.
Chia seeds are a great source of vegan Omega-3 fatty acids. One ounce of chia seeds has 4 to 5 times more than the daily recommended intake of omega-3. They are also rather filling, so even adding a small amount of them to your diet can make a big difference.
One easy way to enjoy chia seeds is to add them to a glass of water. You can also add a spoonful to your fruit salad, smoothie, or yogurt.
If you thought chia seeds are an Omega-3 winner, wait until you hear about flaxseed. Out of every food on the planet, flaxseed gives you the most bang for your buck when it comes to ALA. A single spoonful of flaxseed contains the daily recommended amount.
Unlike the subtle flavor of chia seeds, flaxseed has a distinct nutty taste that fits rather well into smoothies, oatmeal, and puddings. Also, if you’re a baker looking for an egg substitute, mixing some flaxseed with water does the trick.
This is the perfect source of Omega-3 because it also gives you a kick of Vitamins C and K while also being a great source of fiber! While raw Brussel sprouts are a great source of omega-3s, cooking them results in a much higher ALA content—nearly three times what they contain raw.
When it comes to including Brussel sprouts in your diet, you have a lot of options. You can include them as part of a hearty salad, use them as a side dish, add them to a stir-fry, or bake them into a scrumptious casserole.
Algae & Seaweed
Lovers of Asian dishes, you’re in luck. Those meals with seaweed and a dash of algal oil give you plenty of those much-needed omega-3s. Plus, they also contain DHA and EPA, which is rare to find in plant-based foods.
Take some seaweed and add it to your vegan noodle dishes or add a powdered algae supplement to your smoothies, salads, or beverages. You can even sprinkle some on top of your favorite treats.
Supplements are another great way to ensure you are providing your body with enough omega-3 fatty acids. While fish oil is the most commonly known supplement to boost omega-3 intake, it isn’t the only option out there. For a vegan-friendly option, look for an omega-3 supplement that is made from algae or algal oil. As you just learned, algae is a fantastic source of omega-3s, and for many people, taking it in supplement form is more efficient and convenient.
But keep in mind—not all supplements are created equal. There are many supplements on the market that are filled with artificial ingredients, unhealthy flavor enhancers, and unnecessary fillers. For the best results, do some research and choose a high-quality supplement that is all-natural, food-based, and has the proper certifications.
Boost Your Omega-3 Intake with Organic Wild Microalgae®
Following a vegan diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out on consuming those important omega-3 fatty acids. And here at New Earth, we make it easier than ever to get your omega-3s in thanks to a special ingredient known as organic Wild Microalgae. This rare type of blue-green algae is scientifically referred to as Aphanizomenon flos aquae (AFA), and it posses an impressive nutrient profile. Not only is it a natural, vegan source of omega-3, but it also contains all 20 standard amino acids, 13 vitamins, over 60 trace minerals, antioxidants and more. Amazing right? That’s why we include it in all of our whole food supplements.
The best part is you can put any of our supplements to the test risk-free with our 90-day money-back guarantee.
At New Earth we are on a mission to positively impact the health of every body and soul we come in contact with. We specialize in producing third-party certified, organic whole food supplements including a variety of probiotics, and digestive support. Our supplements feature a rare, yet highly nutritious superfood, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Also known as organic Wild Microalgae®, AFA is a unique type of microalgae that is available in many forms including tablets, capsules, and powders all designed to help you on your journey to holistic wellness. The best part? We offer a 90-day money-back risk-free guarantee on all of our products. Visit our website to learn more.