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Here's How Vegetarians and Vegans Can Get Their Daily Dose of Omega 3!

Everyone needs fats in their diet. Certain types of fats are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Omega 3 is one of those types of fats. It is a vital nutrient that the human body is unable to create. Therefore, it must be obtained through food.

Omega 3 fatty acids are usually found in rich quantities in animal-based food like oily fatty fish, fish oil, oysters, cod liver oil, etc. However, this makes vegans and vegetarians wonder if there are some reliable sources of omega 3 fatty acids that are plant-based. Well, yes, there are plenty of them. So, if you are not a fan of fish or if you avoid all animal-based foods and want a vegan source of omega-3, then you’ve come to the right page.

In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of omega 3 and how vegetarians and vegans can get their daily dose of it the right way.

What is Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids belong to the family of polyunsaturated fats that play an essential role in the overall health of your body. The three most important types of omega-3 fatty acids are: -
  • ALA – Alpha Linolenic Acid
  • DHA – Docosahexaenoic Acid
  • EPA – Eicosapentaenoic Acid


What are the Benefits of Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids provide wonderful benefits for the heart, brain, and entire body. Let us discuss a few of them: -

  • Omega-3 Helps Fight Depression and Anxiety -

People who regularly consume Omega 3 are less likely to be depressed. EPA in omega-3 fatty acids helps fight depression and anxiety.

  • Omega-3 Improves Heart Health –

According to research, adequate consumption of omega-3 provides numerous heart-health benefits. It can reduce blood pressure, inflammation, triglycerides, etc.

  • Omega-3 Fights Inflammation –

It can reduce inflammation in the body, the root cause of several diseases.

Omega 3 fatty acids, apart from the above benefits, also help fight age-related mental declines and Alzheimer's disease. It may help combat obesity, promote baby development and even help fight asthma and ADHD.

How Should Vegans and Vegetarians Get the Daily Dose of Omega-3 in Their Diet?

Here are the best plant-based omega-3 fatty acid sources: -

  • Brussels Sprouts

Apart from being rich amounts of protein, Vitamin K and Vitamin C, Brussels sprouts also consist of high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. Brussels sprouts in your diet each week would provide your body with an ample amount of ALA to meet your omega-3 needs. Consumption of brussels sprouts is also linked to preventing blood vessel disease.

Half a cup of (around 45 grams) raw Brussels sprouts can provide you with around 44mg of ALA. However, half a cup (around 78 grams) of cooked Brussels sprouts consists of 135mg of omega-3.

How To Add Brussels Sprouts to Your Diet?

A simple way of adding Brussels sprouts is by adding them to your soups, steaming them, or just tossing them in some olive oil, and they are ready to eat.

  • Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are extremely beneficial for health. They're rich in protein, magnesium, iron, and a good amount of omega 3. Hemp seeds can fulfill almost half of your daily omega-3 needs.

Three tablespoons of Hemp seeds consist of approximately 2600 omega mg of ALA.

How To Add Hemp Seeds to Your Diet?
It is very easy to add these seeds to your diet. Just sprinkle some on your smoothie or salad, or maybe add them to your granola bars.

  • Chia Seeds

Chia seeds have been gaining popularity lately, and it's all because of all the right reasons. It has an excellent nutrient profile. Chia seeds provide a great amount of fiber, protein, minerals, and powerful antioxidants. But other than that, chia seeds are also an incredible source of omega 3 fatty acids.

Around 28 grams of chia seeds can provide you with an impressive amount of 5000mg of omega 3 fatty acids.

How To Add Chia Seeds to Diet?
According to studies, chia seeds can prevent several chronic diseases if consumed in the right amount regularly. You can increase your chia intake by adding them to your smoothies, puddings, or yogurt.

  • Walnuts

Walnuts are low in carbs and high in protein, healthy fats, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are known to improve brain health, cognitive performance, and memory.

One serving (28 grams) of walnuts can provide 2570 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. It can fulfill almost an entire day of omega-3 fatty acid requirements.

How To Add Walnuts to Your Diet?
Snack a few walnuts every day, add to your brownies or granola bars or sprinkle some on your yogurt or smoothies to increase your daily omega-3 intake.

  • Omega - 3 Supplements

Supplements are a simple option to add to your diet if you want to increase your daily omega-3 intake. Supplements are both cheap and effective and great for people looking to avoid animal-based sources.

Most healthcare professionals recommend omega supplements to people unable to get an adequate amount of omega 3 in their diets. If you don’t have any issues with fish oil, there are also some omega supplements with triple omega options that use a pure grade of fish oil which has 84% omega content as compared to standard fish oil.


Wrapping up

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for the smooth functioning of your body and optimum health. That is why you must add omega-3-rich food sources to your diet along with omega supplements.

These have other nutrients along with omega-3 that work together to keep you healthy. Also, you must consult your doctor or healthcare advisor before taking omega-3 or any supplement to prevent any side effects.

References
Caramia G. Omega-3: dall'olio di fegato di merluzzo alla nutrigenomica [Omega-3: from cod-liver oil to nutrigenomics]. Minerva Pediatr. 2008 Aug;60(4):443-55. Italian. PMID: 18511896. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18511896/

Krupa K, Fritz K, Parmar M. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. [Updated 2022 Sep 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK564314/

Wani AL, Bhat SA, Ara A. Omega-3 fatty acids and the treatment of depression: a review of scientific evidence. Integr Med Res. 2015 Sep;4(3):132-141. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2015.07.003. Epub 2015 Jul 15. PMID: 28664119; PMCID: PMC5481805. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5481805/

Institute of Medicine (US) Panel on Micronutrients. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2001. 5, Vitamin K. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222299/

Teterycz D, Sobota A, Przygodzka D, Łysakowska P. Hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) enriched pasta: Physicochemical properties and quality evaluation. PLoS One. 2021 Mar 18;16(3):e0248790. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248790. PMID: 33735229; PMCID: PMC7971538. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7971538/

Chauhan A, Chauhan V. Beneficial Effects of Walnuts on Cognition and Brain Health. Nutrients. 2020 Feb 20;12(2):550. doi: 10.3390/nu12020550. PMID: 32093220; PMCID: PMC7071526. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071526/

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