What are omega-3s, and how can you get them in your diet?
Omega-3 is a type of fatty acid that your body needs from food because it cannot make it on its own. These are good fats, as opposed to omega-6 fatty acids, and they are generally found in seafood, oils, and nuts.
This type of fatty acid carries a variety of health benefits including lowering triglyceride levels, easing pain and stiffness from arthritis, lowering depression, and helping brain function (WebMD). It is vital for brain health and the retinas of the eyes, and it is also anti-inflammatory—a big plus for athletes. While it is important for women and developing children to get omega-3 fats, they should take care to avoid toxins in fish that can harm their child. Check with a healthcare professional to find out what is safe and healthy for you during certain stages of life. Because a large amount of these fatty acids is found in fish, it can be a challenge for vegetarians and vegans. Supplements are available, but as with any nutrient, it is best to get it from the actual source.
Some of the best seafood sources of omega 3 include anchovies, herring, salmon, sardines, trout, and tuna. This is where the quality of the food is a very important factor as you should look out for toxins in certain fish and fishing methods.
Other than seafood, walnuts are the best nut for this fat. Chia seeds, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil also have good levels.
Adding in omega 3-containing foods can be as simple as chopping some nuts on a pancake, oatmeal, or salad; cooking vegetables or scrambling eggs with a little oil, or having seafood with dinner a couple times a week. Flaxseed and chia seeds can be added to oatmeal, breads, or sprinkled on toast, salad or soup, and even made in chia seed pudding and jam.
Old House has a large variety of seafood prepared in many ways, so you can choose whatever you may be in the mood for. For a restaurant that specializes in seafood, check out Wei Li Seafood, based out of Singapore. At some breakfast and brunch spots, you can even get salmon on toast, eggs, or biscuits.
We can’t guarantee that your IQ or mood will improve after eating more omega 3s, but there are great health benefits to seeing what this healthy fat can do for you.
High Omega-3 foods
Omega-3 foods rankings by serving size:
- Mackerel: 5,134 mg in 100g (3.5 oz)
- Chia seeds: 4,915 mg per oz
- Cod liver oil: 2,664 mg per 1 tablespoon
- Walnuts: 2,542 mg per oz
- Salmon: 2,260 mg per 100 g
- Flaxseeds: 2,228 mg per tablespoon of seeds or 7,196 mg per tablespoon of oil
- Anchovies: 2,113 per 100 g
- Herring: 1,729 mg per 100 g
- Sardines: 1,480 per 100 g
- Soybeans: 1,443 mg per 100g (or 1,241 in half cup roasted)
- Caviar: 1,086 mg per tablespoon (or 6,789 mg per 100 g)
- Oysters: 672 mg per 100 g