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If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you might be having a hard time including omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Here are some plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids for your healthy life. - By Nikita Arya
Omega-3 fatty acids are undoubtedly the healthiest fats. They are the essential polyunsaturated fats that keep your heart and brain healthy. As they are called ‘essential’, it means the body cannot make them on its own. So you have to include them in your daily diet. The richest sources may include fish oil and fatty fish like salmon, trout and tuna, but you really don’t need to turn to them. Here are some plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids if you’re a vegan or vegetarian.
1. Chia Seeds
Eat it raw, soaked in some juice or sprinkle some into porridge, pudding and smoothies, chia seeds are the easiest to eat source of omega-3 fatty acids. One-ounce serving of chia seeds contains 5 grams of omega-3 and fulfills a third of your daily fiber requirement ( source: healthline.com, webmd). It helps decreasing blood triglycerides and increase good HDL cholesterol, maintaining heart health. A serving of chia seeds. Chia seeds are soluble fibers that help feeding healthy bacteria in the gut, regulating digestion. It also helps regulating blood sugar in the body.
2. Brussels Sprouts
These miniature cabbages are a treasure of health. Half a cup of raw brussels sprouts may nourish you with 44 mg of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), one of the three main omega-3 fatty acids, which aids in lowering cholesterol, reducing risks of blood pressure, heart diseases and stroke. If eaten cooked, half a cup of it may provide 135 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Roasted, steamed, blanched or stir fried, whichever form tastes delicious.
3. Hemp Seed
One of the fastest growing plants in the world, hemp are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Hemp seeds comprise of 30% oil, containing approximately 6,000 mg of ALA. The easiest way to give a punch of omega-3 in your diet is by adding hemp seeds into your food, for instance, in a bowl of yogurt, salads or cereals.
A symbol of intelligence, wisdom, inspiration and knowledge, walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. A single ounce of walnuts (28 gm) provides 2,542 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (source: healthline.com), which is enough to fulfill a day’s requirement. Enriched with ALA, walnuts improve brain health including memory and learning and motor development. It also helps you be less anxious and may also help with Alzheimer’s disease.
Another seafood but vegetarians-friendly, seaweed is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Seaweed is rich in EPA and can be added as one of the most reliable source of omega-3 for vegetarians and vegans!
This superfood has created quite a buzz lately with its exceptional nutritional benefits, including its abundance in omega-3 fatty acids. In a single ounce of flaxseeds, you get the goodness of 6,388 mg ALA. Flaxseeds helps reduce cholesterol levels, keeping your heart healthy, thanks to the high omega-3 content. Sprinkle these seeds into your salads, soups, cereals or oatmeals to take your daily dose of omega 3.
7. Perilla Oil
Perilla oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and helps in keeping you healthy in lot many ways. Derived from perilla seeds, this oil has the potential to double the ALA levels in the body. It also may help in increasing the levels of EPA and DHA in the blood. It has been helpful for treating wide range of health problems such as asthma, nausea, sunstroke, muscle spasms and seasonal allergies.
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