“Eat more fish.” How many times have you heard those three words? Well, what if you don’t like fish? Or you’re a vegetarian? No worries. There is a fish-free omega-3 alternative, so you can leave the fish to those who love it.
A third type of omega-3 is found in plant oils and is known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The body partially converts ALA to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), that is, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.
It’s not known if vegetable and fish omega-3’s are equally beneficial, but nevertheless, these fatty acids are essential for good health and most Americans don’t get enough of either type. Aim for at least one rich source of omega-3’s every day. Recommended amount: at least 7 to 11 grams of omega-3’s per week which equates to 1 to 1.6 grams per day.
Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) include:
- Ground flaxseed meal
- Polyunsaturated oils, such as:
- Canola (rapeseed) oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Walnut oil
- Nuts and other seeds, such as:
- Some vegetables*, such as:
- Broccoli, Chinese, cooked – 4.0 g per 200-calorie serving
- Spinach, frozen – 2.2 g
- Cauliflower, cooked – 1.5 g
- Arugula, raw – 1.4 g
- Romaine lettuce – 1.3 g
- Peppers, green, sautéed – 1.2 g
- Spinach, raw – 1.2 g
- Beans, pinto and kidney 1.2
- Broccoli rabe (rapini), raw – 1.0 g
- Zucchini, raw – 1.0 g
- Brussels sprouts, cooked – 1.0 g
- Broccoli, raw – 0 .9 g
- Cabbage, Chinese – 0.9 g
- Soybeans, cooked – 0.7 g
- Kale, raw – 0.7 g
*Based on 200-calorie servings. See Vegetables highest in total omega-3 fatty acids.
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