Omega-3 fatty acids are essential because the body is not capable of producing them on its own. That’s why it is crucial we get enough from our diet. Omega-3s are extremely beneficial; they are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect cell receptors in these membranes. They also help with hormone production and regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation in the body. They have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer, and may help control eczema, depression, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Fish are typically rich in omega-3s, but mackerel leads the crowd with an average omega-3 content of around 5000 mg per 100g of fish. Mackerel are small, fatty fish commonly eaten and smoked as fillets. It requires almost no preparation, as it is often sold smoked with various spices or canned, though fresh mackerel is also available.
Pecans are delicious and nutritious. High in omega-3 fats, just a handful a day can significantly lower bad LDL cholesterol. Pecans also contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, and E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Pecans are also rich in age-defying antioxidants.
Cod Liver Oil
Although cod liver oil is more of a supplement than actual food, it is still necessary for a healthy, balanced diet. The oil is extracted from the livers of codfish and is most commonly sold as capsules or liquid. Not only is this oil high in omega-3 fatty acids, but it is also loaded with vitamin D and vitamin A. When using a supplement, read the label carefully. An adult can safely take in about 3000mg of cod liver oil a day but make sure you’re not getting too much vitamin A when taking large doses.
Flax seeds are small brown or yellow seeds, sold whole, milled, or as cold-pressed flax seed oil. They are one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) but are also a good source of fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, and other nutrients. Flax is one of the best sources of omega-3s for vegetarians.
Walnuts compete with pecans when it comes to first place in nutrition. They are loaded with fiber and rich in copper, manganese, and vitamin E, and their skin contains most of the phenol oxidants that protect our skin from early aging. Seven walnuts (28g, ounce) offer about 2500 mg of omega-3s.
Salmon contains high-quality protein and large amounts of magnesium, potassium, selenium, and vitamin B. There is around 1800mg of omega-3s in three ounces of salmon, and the benefits go far beyond just nutrition. People who regularly consume fish like salmon have a lower risk of heart diseases, dementia, and depression.
Chia seeds are a superfood for good reason; they contain almost 5000 mg of omega-3s per ounce and are also rich in manganese, calcium, phosphorus, and various other nutrients. Chia is high in protein, as well, as the neutral taste and gelling quality when added to liquids make them a versatile addition to the diet.
Cold-Pressed Olive Oil
Cold-pressed olive oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. The best type of oil is extra virgin, extracted from the olives upon the first pressing. Extra virgin oil has the highest quality and low acidity. Olive oil is suitable for cooking because it contains lots of monounsaturated fat and very little polyunsaturated fat, making it more heat-resistant than many other types of oil. The most benefits come from using it raw, however.
Pumpkin seeds are not only a great source of omega-3 fats but also rich in iron, omega-6s, magnesium, and manganese. They are particularly alkalizing compared to other common nuts and seeds. The seeds can help lower insulin and cortisol in the body, and some studies suggest they could contribute to bladder and prostate health and even improve sleep.
Soybeans are a great source of fiber and vegetable proteins. They contain high amounts of riboflavin, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium, as well. A half cup of soybeans offers between 400 and 500mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
Eggs have long been recognized as a source of high-quality protein and a great source of omega-3 fats. They provide a complete range of amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, valine) and sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine, cysteine), as well as lysine and tryptophan. Some eggs are omega-3-enriched, which means the hen’s diet had added omega-3 fatty acids.
Sardines are small, fatty fish usually sold canned in various sauces or marinades but can be also grilled or fried. They are one of the richest omega-3 foods available. They are also an excellent source of vitamins D and B12 and proteins. People who regularly include sardines in their diet are at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and can lower their cholesterol levels.
Spinach is a rare green vegetable high in omega-3 fats. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals and full of health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids, which provide powerful antioxidant protection.
Papayas are also quite rich in omega-3, not to mention a great source of antioxidants such as carotenes, vitamin C, and flavonoids. The tropical fruit also boasts healthy quantities of the B vitamins folate, and pantothenic acid, as well as potassium, copper, magnesium, and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote cardiovascular health and provide protection against colon cancer.
Brussels sprouts are another vegetable source of omega-3s and are in the same cruciferous family as kale. They are rich in many valuable nutrients, including vitamins C and K, and deliver health-boosting amounts of folate, manganese, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, choline, copper, vitamin B1, potassium, and phosphorus.