As a vegan, you’re aware of the suggested health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, such as protection against inflammation and heart disease. (3) But you don’t eat fish nor do you take supplements derived from fish. Are there any plant-based sources of these “good” oils?
Yes, there are, and if you feel you’re not getting sufficient omega-3s, a supplement may be useful. Consider our plant-based GreenOMEGA 3. It’s ideal for vegans and vegetarians, because it’s derived from a renewable algal source.
Let’s look at the health benefits you may derive from omega-3s.
What are the suggested health benefits of omega-3s?
Since the omega-3 fatty acids can’t be created by our bodies, they’re termed “essential.” We need to eat them regularly.
Research suggests that people with diets rich in omega-3s have reduced cardiovascular (heart and artery) risk factors and strokes. (4) Termed anti-inflammatory, omega-3s are also recommended for arthritis sufferers, and people with diabetes. Although clinical trials are needed to establish the link, evidence reveals that people with Parkinson’s diseases and dementia have low levels of omega-3s (3).
If you’d like to increase your intake of omega-3s, let’s look at some healthy plant-based sources.
Eat well: plant- based omega-3s you can add to your diet today
Adding one or more of these plant-based food sources to your vegan diet each day are a good idea. Not only are they good sources for omega-3s, they provide vitamins and minerals too.
1. Flaxseeds: high in omega-3s—a healthy tablespoon a day
Offering more omega-3s than any other plant-based food, flaxseeds have been used in India’s Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It’s notable that vegetarianism thrives in India and Nepal. In the west, farmers have long added linseed (another term for flaxseeds) to their animals’ diets.
Containing antioxidants, fibre, and protein as well as omega-3s (4), studies show that flaxseeds may reduce cholesterol, as well as benefiting arthritis sufferers and improving general health.
Sprinkle a tablespoon a day of flaxseeds over salads, or add flaxseed to smoothies.
2. Walnuts: a delicious source of omega-3s
Love walnuts? While many nuts offer omega-3s, walnuts are a particularly good source (7). Not only do they supply omega-3 fatty acids, research suggests they also help promote health in your gut microbiota. If you’re subject to tummy upsets, adding walnuts to your diet may help.
You don’t need many walnuts: an ounce of walnuts a day provides double the omega-3s your body needs.
Add walnuts to smoothies, salads and sweet treats.
3. Spirulina, seaweed and algae: omega-3s from the oceans
Seaweed has been called “sea food for vegans” and is an excellent source of omega-3s and a range of additional essential nutrients. Many different varieties of seaweed form part of Japanese diets. Another food from the sea, spirulina, which is derived from blue-green algae, has been termed a superfood because of all the healthy nutrients it supplies.
You’ll find dried varieties of seaweed like nori and kombu in supermarkets and Asian grocery stores. Although nori is commonly used to wrap sushi, it’s highly nutritious with many proteins and vitamins—add nori to any meal. Add kombu to bean soups and stews: it contains enzymes to help with digestion.
4. Canola oil: healthy and rich in omega-3s
Much used in Indian diets, canola oil is rich in omega-3s, as well as vitamins E and K. Canola oil derives from crushed canola seeds. It’s higher in omega-3 than any oils, other than flaxseed oil.
As a source of omega-3s, just a tablespoon a day gives you all your body needs. Add it to your cooking, or use it as a salad dressing or in smoothies.
5. Hemp seeds: delicious and healthy too
With a delicious nutty flavor, hemp seeds are a good source of omega-3s as well as protein, plus vitamin E, and many minerals. Recommended for skin and gut health by some natural health experts, few clinical studies have been done on hemp seeds.
Add hemp seed to your favorite recipes, as well as salads and smoothies.
6. Edamame: a complete protein and source of omega-3s
Edamame, young soybeans which are harvested before they turn ripe, are available fresh or frozen. Not only are they a good source of protein and omega-3s, they contain lots of healthy minerals.
Delicious in soups and stews, rice dishes, salads and anywhere you might serve peas, edamame have many suggested health benefits. However, few clinical trials have been done on edamame, so take reported health benefits as anecdotes.
7. Chia seeds: termed a superfood, and delicious
Over the past decade chia seeds have gained a reputation as a superfood because they pack a lot of nutrition into their tiny seeds. Not only do they contain omega-3s and antioxidants, they’re a good source of protein, B vitamins and calcium for vegans.
You can add chia seeds to your diet in many ways. They make wonderful breads and puddings. However, you can sprinkle them over any meal because they don’t have any special flavor in themselves. They’re rich in fibre too.
A healthy plant-based omega-3: GreenOMEGA 3
Wondering whether you need an omega-3 supplement?
If you know the foods above will only ever play a small role in your dietary regime a supplement is a convenient way to derive the important health benefits from a diet with sufficient levels of omega-3’s. When you’re busy and fear you’re missing out on omega-3s because you’re missing meals or not getting a sufficient intake of omega-3, plant-based GreenOMEGA 3 is not only suitable for vegans, it’s a health promoting supplement to your entire family’s diet.