Omega-3s are important fatty acids you should not discard from your diet. But that doesn’t mean that if you don’t eat fish that you have to go without them.
- Why are Omega-3s so Important?
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy for your brain, keeping it strong and preventing illnesses such as dementia. They also are said to keep your heart in good shape, while fighting off inflammation in the body, which can prevent health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3s help to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. They can even make you sleep better! What makes omega-3s so crucial to consume is that the body can’t produce them on its own and therefore requires them from diet. The three kinds of omega-3 are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). EPA and DHA are mostly found in seafood such as salmon although marine algae does contain them. ALA, on the other hand, can be found in plants.
- Vegan Sources
Luckily, you can find many vegan sources of omega-3 ALA. So make sure you top up on spinach, kale, walnuts (and other nuts), flaxseeds and healthy oils such as canola and olive oil. Algae oils, a source of DHA, can be found in fortified foods, such as pastas or soy milk, so always read the labels.
- Omega-3 supplements
Supplements can be beneficial for vegans, especially when it comes to EPA and DHA that are mainly found in fish. Before taking omega-3 supplements be sure to first consult with your doctor. Some of them can raise your cholesterol levels, or interact negatively with other medication you might already be taking. It’s also good to know that some omega-3 supplement contain fish oils but there are vegan alternatives. Be sure to check that they have been verified by an independent third party, such as Consumer Lab or the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention. *Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons