Top 5 Plant-Based Sources For Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Adding more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can provide numerous health benefits. Multiple studies show that omega-3s can help regulate inflammation, balance blood triglycerides, and protect your brain health as you age1. Omega-3 fatty acids come from many sources, but the best known sources are from fatty fish, such as Alaskan Pollock. But did you know that you can get omega-3 fatty acids from plant-based foods too? Check out the top 5 plant sources for omega-3 fatty acids:

1. Chia Seeds

  • Chia seeds offer many health benefits including lots of protein and fiber. What you may not realize is that they are also a great source for ALA omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Thanks to the protein, fiber, and omega-3 they contain, studies have shown that they decrease the risk for chronic disease when they are part of a healthy diet.
  • According to one study, Chia seeds lowered glucose intolerance, inflammatory markers, and blood triglycerides2.
  • A study conducted in 2007 showed that eating Chia seeds increased the good HDL cholesterol and omega-3 blood levels while decreasing blood triglycerides3.
  • Including 1 ounce of Chia seeds in your daily diet can exceed the recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • You can make a Chia seed pudding or sprinkle them on anything from yogurts, salads, and smoothies.
  • Vegans sometimes use ground Chia seeds as a substitute for eggs. Combine 1 tablespoon with 3 tablespoons of water and it will replace one egg in your recipes.
2. Brussels Sprouts
  • Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables and are rich in many nutrients. They contain high levels of vitamin C, K, and fiber, as well as plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • One study found that increasing your intake of cruciferous vegetables can reduce your risk of heart disease by 16%4.
  • When Brussels sprouts are cooked, they deliver three times as much omega-3s. In 1/2 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts, you will find 135 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Brussels sprouts are can be served roasted, blanched, steamed, or stir-fried.
3. Algal Oil
  • Algal oil comes from algae and is a vegan source of both DHA and EPA.
  • According to some studies, algal oil is similar to seafood in its availability of both DHA and EPA5.
  • A recent study also showed that those who supplemented with a DHA algal oil compound showed an improvement in memory6.
4. Hemp Seeds
  • Hemp seeds provide your body with protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3.
  • A number of studies have shown that hemp seeds can help protect heart health.7
  • There is approximately 6000 mg of ALA in each ounce of hemp seeds.
  • You can sprinkle hemp seeds on your yogurt or mix them into a smoothie.
5. Walnuts
  • Walnuts have a lot of healthy fats and ALA omega-3 fatty acids. They are about 65% fat by weight.
  • A number of studies have shown that walnuts may help to improve brain health8.
  • In 2011, a study was conducted that showed the benefits of eating walnuts improved memory.
  • Significant improvements in learning, memory, motor development and anxiety were shown in another study done on patients with Alzheimer's disease9.
  • One serving of walnuts a day can provide all of your daily requirements for omega-3 fatty acids. 
  • You can get more walnuts in your diet by adding them to your cereal or granola. Sprinkle them on yogurt or just grab a handful and enjoy them as a snack.

There are still many who don’t get enough omega-3s from food alone. We recommend supplementing your diet with NATURELO's wild-caught Alaskan Pollock omega-3 fish oil or Vegan Algal oil supplement.

References:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24505395, Effect of marine-derived n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on C-reactive protein, interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor α: a meta-analysis, 2014 Feb 5;9(2):e88103. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088103. eCollection 2014
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22090467, A dietary pattern including nopal, chia seed, soy protein, and oat reduces serum triglycerides and glucose intolerance in patients with metabolic syndrome., 2012 Jan;142(1):64-9. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.147447. Epub 2011 Nov 16
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17356263, Effect of dietary alpha-linolenic fatty acid derived from chia when fed as ground seed, whole seed and oil on lipid content and fatty acid composition of rat plasma, 2007;51(1):27-34. Epub 2007 Mar 14
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4973479/, The effect of green leafy and cruciferous vegetable intake on the incidence of cardiovascular disease: A meta-analysis, 2016 Jan-Dec; 5: 2048004016661435
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18589030, Algal-oil capsules and cooked salmon: nutritionally equivalent sources of docosahexaenoic acid, 2008 Jul;108(7):1204-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.04.020
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25958644, [Study of DHA algal oil compound preparation on improving memory], 2015 Jan;44(1):86-90
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18418423, Cholesterol-induced stimulation of platelet aggregation is prevented by a hempseed-enriched diet, 2008 Apr;86(4):153-9. doi: 10.1139/Y08-011
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22048906, Effects of walnuts (Juglans regia) on learning and memory functions, 2011 Nov;66(4):335-40. doi: 10.1007/s11130-011-0260-2
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25024344, Dietary supplementation of walnuts improves memory deficits and learning skills in transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, 2014;42(4):1397-405. doi: 10.3233/JAD-140675