10 Vegan Sources of Omega-3 and Its Benefits
Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of important fats that you must obtain from your diet. The three most important types are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). ALA is mainly found in plants, while DHA and EPA occur mostly in animal foods and algae.
Regardless of your healthy lifestyle choices you need omega 3.
That is why we have created this post, to share 10 vegan sources of omega-s and its benefits. You are probably already consuming some of these products on a daily basis without even knowing their benefits.
What is Omega 3 and what are its benefits?
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids. They play an important role in cellular function and in maintaining heart health, brain health, kidney function, eye health, and skin health. Omega-3s are important for brain development and eye function. They also protect against cardiac risks and may offer protection from Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and osteoporosis.
How can vegans get enough omega-3 fat? Include good sources of ALA in your daily diet, such as chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds and walnuts, and consider using canola oil as your main cooking oil.
The best sources of omega-3 are chia seeds, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and canola oil. Additional sources include hemp seed oil, walnuts, and, to a lesser extent, soybeans, and leafy green vegetables.
It is also possible to get these fatty acids from algae-derived supplements.
Let us break down a list of 10 omega 3 supplements for a better understanding of what they have to offer.
Vegan Omega 3 Supplements
This powerhouse nutrient is abundant in several different plants that will not only boost your omega-3 intake, but also deliver dozens of other important nutrients for optimal health. Omnivores may want to incorporate these vegan sources of omega-3 fats into their diets, too!
01. Flax Seeds
Flax delivers more ALA omega-3 fatty acids than any other food on the planet, offering more than double the amount of your daily recommended needs in a tablespoon and seven times the recommendation in a tablespoon of flax seed oil.
A two-tablespoon serving of flax seed has six grams of fiber and four grams of protein. Not to mention, it is a great source of Vitamin A, Magnesium, and Manganese. You can buy them whole to use in our Homemade Multi-Seed Crackers or buy them ground to add to your favorite smoothie or morning bowl of oatmeal.
While a variety of nuts are considered super-foods, walnuts just might be one of the best for optimal health. Studies have found walnuts lower blood pressure, help us lose weight-and maintain a healthy one, help us age better and even boost our gut health!
Just one ounce of walnuts contains 2.7g of omega-3 fats, which is more than double the daily recommendation for women.
You can easily get all the omega-3’s you need in a day by topping walnuts onto a favorite salad, baking them into brownies, by substituting the almonds in the crust on this (Vegan-Free, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free) Mini Cheesecakes recipe.
Edamame is another nutritional powerhouse that certainly needs to find its way into your diet (assuming you are not avoiding soy). A half-cup serving of edamame provides about 20 percent of your omega-3 fat needs as well as offering tons of protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients.
04. Kidney Beans
While kidney beans are one of are lower sources of plant-based omega-3’s-offering about 10 percent of your daily needs-they are definitely still worth eating. Kidney beans are an excellent source of plant protein and are packed with fiber to keep you full until your next meal.
They are also a great source of iron and folate, making for a pregnancy super-food
05. Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds are packed 5g of omega-3’s in just one ounce! Chia seeds have become a popular super-food in recent years and for good reason.
One ounce of chia seeds is packed with almost half of your daily fiber needs, protein, and is an excellent vegan source of calcium.
06. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is ideal in salads, marinades, or baked goods. Avocado oil has a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.
07. Wild Rice
Wild rice is a low-calorie and protein-packed grass. It has nearly 500mg of omega-3 in one cup.
08. Brussel Sprouts
Cooked Brussels sprouts contain a “significantly high” amount of ALA. There is 135mg of ALA in one half-cup of cooked Brussels sprouts. As well as omega 3, the food is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Which is an important vitamin for bone health and wound healing.
The body needs vitamin K to produce prothrombin, a protein that helps the blood clot appropriately.
Try including a side of Brussels sprouts with your next home cooked meal or make them the star of the show.
09. Canola Oil
Many people feel strongly about which cooking oil is the best, and canola oil gets our seal of approval. As sourced by WebMD, canola oil is higher in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) than any other oil except flaxseed oil.
One tablespoon of canola oil contains 1.28g of omega-3’s, which is more than a day’s serving for women.
We also love canola oil for its versatility-thanks to a light and neutral flavor, low saturated fat content and that it is a great source of Vitamins E and K.
10. Seaweed and Algae
Seaweed, spirulina, nori, and chlorella are all forms of algae that are rich in omega-3 fats. These foods are especially important for vegans and some vegetarians to consume, because they provide one of the only plant-based sources of EPA and DHA omega-3’s.
If you are deficient in omega 3, you might find yourself suffering from dry, flaky skin, depressive moods, brittle nails, dry hair, or even brain fog.
None of which are good, and all of which are avoidable by being more mindful of eating natural sources of as much as possible omega 3.
I have been in this situation and that is one of the ways I realized I was not consuming enough omega 3.
Not all omega-3 supplements come in omega 3 fish oil capsules; there are also vegan omega-3 supplements like this omega-3 soft gels and this spray omega-3 supplement option available on the market.