You’ve probably heard about omega-3 fatty acids, especially in the context of maintaining a healthy heart. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential to the body functioning properly and keeping optimal health. More than that, they’re something that the body can’t produce on its own, which is why we need to be conscious about getting our fill of omega-3 fatty acids from food.
Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most well-studied nutrients in science and provide an array of powerful health benefits. Getting an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help:
- Fight mental disorders and conditions
- Improve eye health
- Promote brain health during pregnancy and infancy
- Lower the risk of heart disease
- Reduce symptoms of ADHD in children
- Reduce insulin resistance
- Reduce inflammation
- Fight autoimmune diseases
- Fight Alzheimer’s
- Prevent cancer
- Reduce asthma in children
- Reduce fat in the liver
- Improve bone and joint health
- Improve sleep
- Improve skin health
6 Foods that Are Packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Most health organizations recommend that men consume at least 1,100 mg of omega-3 fatty acids a day, while women should consume at least 1,600 mg. A handful of foods provide a fantastic dose of omega-3s that make fulfilling this daily requirement easy.
Several fish varieties are very abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, with one of the most popular types being salmon. Other types of fish like sardines, mackerel, herring, and anchovies contain plenty of omega-3s, and eating one serving of them can help you fulfill your daily, dietary requirement.
If you’re not a fan of fish, then flaxseeds are another excellent source of omega-3s. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds, often sold in the form of oil for cooking, and have a pleasant, nutty flavor. You can add them to smoothies or baked goods, or use their oil in cooking and dressings for salad.
3. Wild Rice
One-half cup of wild rice contains 240 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, making it a wonderful addition to your diet. Instead of using brown rice, try subbing wild rice into your meal. Plus, wild rice is rich in protein and fiber, as well, making it an excellent ingredient to include in your dishes.
Believe it or not, but just one ounce of walnuts contains 2,600 mg of omega-3s. That’s right, just a handful of walnuts will allow you to meet your daily quota. This is incredibly convenient as walnuts don’t really need to be prepared in any way to be enjoyed. You can simply take a handful of raw walnuts from a bag and get your fill for the day. If you do feel inclined to incorporate it into a meal, an easy way to do so is to simply cook with walnut oil over olive oil or vegetable oil.
5. Edamame (Soybeans)
For vegetarians or vegans who can’t consume fish, edamame (soybeans) are another fantastic source of omega-3s. A half-cup serving of boiled, shelled edamame contains 300 mg of plant-based omega-3s. Drizzle the edamame with lemon juice and a tiny pinch of salt for extra great flavor.
6. Chia Seeds
Another abundant source of omega-3s comes in the form of chia seeds. If you can believe it, just one ounce of these tiny seeds contains 4,915 mg of omega-3s! Like flaxseeds, you can mix these into a smoothie or use them in baked goods. You can also make an overnight pudding with them for a delicious breakfast the next morning.