For some people, omega 3 is commonly associated with fish and fish oil. However, there are other sources of omega 3 fatty acids which you can include in your regular diet. Because of the prominence of fish oils in the market, omega 3 foods are often forgotten. Among the components of omega 3, EPA , ALA and DHA are the most nutritionally-beneficial fatty acids. Studies show that the body can easily absorb these fatty acids when taken from food instead of supplement form.
Omega 3 foods have many health benefits aside from lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol; they also help reduce blood clot in the arteries, prevent hardening of the arteries, improve symptoms of depression, reduce the risk of developing serious illnesses, improve blood sugar levels.
Omega 3 foods can be grouped according to the type of fatty acids that they contain.
Fish is not included in the list of omega 3 foods that are high in EPA and DHA. It is believed that fish from cold waters have higher fatty acids content. There are other fish varieties that have high omega 3 such as sardines, mackerel, lake trout, Albacore tuna, Atlantic herring, salmon and swordfish.
It is essential to add omega 3 foods in the diet since the body cannot produce ALA. Approximately 35% of ALA in food is converted to EPA and DHA. Foods that are good sources of ALA are flaxseed and flaxseed oil, walnuts, Brazil nuts, soybeans and soybean oil, olive oil, soy nuts, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds.
Fruits, vegetables and beans that have high omega 3 should be included in your diet. Foods with high fatty acid content include tofu, cauliflower, kidney beans, winter and summer squash, navy beans, strawberries, green beans, broccoli, romaine lettuce and collard greens. Wheat germ, beef and free range chicken are also high in omega 3 fatty acids.
ALA-rich omega 3 foods are only dietary sources of fatty acids. So make sure that you limit your intake of saturated and trans fats since these can interfere with the conversion of ALA to DHA and EPA. By selecting the right foods, you’ll be able to absorb the right amounts of omega 3 fatty acids that your body needs.