Omega-3 fatty acids are type of polyunsaturated fats that are crucial for various body functions. There are three types of omega-3 fats, alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA and decosahexaenoic acid or EPA. Our body cannot synthesize ALA. However, it can convert ALA that it gets from food into the other two omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. ALA is primarily used for energy production, whereas EPA and DHA play an important role in maintaining healthy functioning of the immune system, cardiovascular system and the nervous system. By including foods that contain the different types of omega-3 fats in your diet you can meet your body’s demand for these essential fats.
The Following Foods Are Especially Rich In The Omega-3 Fats:
Cold Pressed Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil is a concentrated source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Two tablespoons of flaxseed oil provides 133% of your daily recommended amount of the essential fat. However, to facilitate conversion of ALA into the other two essential omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, add foods rich in vitamins B3, B6 and C and magnesium and zinc to your diet and limit consumption of vegetable oils that contain large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.
Chia seeds are packed with ALA. Two ounces of chia seeds can meet your entire daily omega-3 fatty acid need. When added to a healthy diet that maintains the right balance of the omega-3 and omega-6 fats, the ALA your body gets from chia seeds can be easily converted into EPA and DHA.
All types of fatty fish are rich sources of the omega-3 fats. Fish oil contains the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. Among the different types of fatty fish, menhaden is the richest source of these essential fats, followed by sardine, cod, herring and salmon. You will get more than half of your desired dosage of omega-3 fatty acid by consuming four ounces of salmon.
Walnuts are loaded with omega-3 fats. The entire omega-3 fatty acid need of your body can be met by consuming a quarter cup of walnuts. Moreover, walnuts are packed with protein and dietary fibers that make them the ideal food for a healthy diet.
Meat of grass-fed animals is a rich source of EPA and DHA. Per four ounce serving of beef meets almost half of your daily omega-3 fatty acid need. However, red meat is also rich in saturated fats. Therefore, control the portion sizes and select the leaner portions.
Soybean is another excellent source of omega-3 fats. To increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake, include soy products such as roasted soybean, soymilk or tofu in your diet.
Winter squash contains significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Include a cup of winter squash in your diet to increase your ALA consumption. Furthermore, winter squash is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
For people on a strict plant based diet, Brussels sprout is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids. To reap the maximum health benefits of Brussels sprout, avoid cooking the vegetable in oil.