9 Ways to Get More Omega-3s in Your Diet
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of a healthy diet (they help keep your heart and brain healthy and quell disease-causing inflammation). Find out nine ways to get more of them in your diet from Food Network.
Photo By: MillanovicCLOSED
Photo By: matka_Wariatka
Photo By: Ekaterina Garyuk
Photo By: Mike Kemp ©Rubberball 2009
Photo By: Antonio Scarpi
Photo By: stockcam ©(c) stockcam
Photo By: Image Source ©Image Source
Photo By: Creativ Studio Heinemann
Photo By: TS Photography ©(c) TS Photography
Walnuts deliver more ALA — the plant-based omega-3 — than any other nut. Try Food Network Kitchens' Super Food Spinach Salad with Pomegranate-Glazed Walnuts for an easy side salad to pair with any meal.
Cold-water fish, like salmon, mackerel, rainbow trout and sardines, are by far the best source of omega-3s, offering the hard-to-get but oh-so-important DHA and EPA types of omega-3s. If you're worried about mercury in fish, the benefits of omega-3s in fish seem to outweigh the risk of mercury. Plus, you can find high-omega-3, low-mercury fish, such as wild salmon, mackerel, rainbow trout and sardines.
Flaxseeds are a rich source of ALA, which may help lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease. To get the full benefit from flaxseed, eat it ground — your body is better able to absorb ALA from ground flaxseed than whole. Because it can go rancid easily, it's best to refrigerate ground flaxseed. In addition to omega-3s, flax has fiber and protein. Shake onto yogurt, add some to a smoothie or bake into cookies — your family won't notice that these Oatmeal-Flax Chocolate Chip Cookies have a health kick.
Grass-Fed Beef and Lamb
Red meat from grass-fed and -finished animals has 50 percent more long-chain omega-3 fatty acids than regular meat. Although the amount of omega-3s in grass-fed red meat is still no match for fish, researchers think that because people tend to eat so much more red meat than fish, making the switch to grass-fed could really contribute to your total omega-3 intake.
Fatty fish aren't the only seafood boasting omega-3s. Mussels are a good source, with about 900 mg of EPA/DHA per 3-ounce serving. Try Tyler Florence's Steamed Mussels or Rachael Ray's Big Mussels with Garlic and Vermouth.
These crunchy round seeds have been stealing the show from flaxseed. Although they contain a bit less ALA than flaxseed, they're still a good source, delivering 2.6 g per tablespoon. And in contrast to flax, which needs to be ground, chia seeds are easily absorbed.
When chicken eggs boast "omega-3s" on the package it means the chickens have been given feed that contains flaxseed, which in turn boosts the omega-3 content of the eggs (about 50 mg per large egg not a ton, but every bit counts). One research study also found that eggs from pastured, rather than caged, chickens are naturally higher in omega-3 content.
Just 1 tablespoon of canola oil gives you 1,280 mg of plant-based omega-3s, making it a heart-healthy choice for cooking. Since canola oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil, try it when using high-heat cooking methods such as sauteing or baking.
Fish Oil Supplements
A lot of the studies on the heart benefits of omega-3s have been done with fish oil supplements. They're usually made from small fish, like sardines and krill, which keeps their mercury content low. These have been especially helpful for people with heart disease to lower risk of heart attack. If you don't eat fish, talk to your health care provider about taking a supplement.