Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to human health; they promote normal metabolism, support brain function, and protect the heart. Getting enough omega-3s is especially important in Western diets, which are often susceptible to an overload of omega-6 fatty acids, causing excess inflammation in the body. Inflammation-reducing omega-3’s can be found in fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, and foods like nuts, seeds, and soybeans. Today, we’ll look at 5 easy ways to increase your omega-3 intake with plant-based foods.
Walnuts are a rich vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA). Research suggests that consuming walnuts may lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Snacking on walnuts or tossing them over salads and in trail mixes is a heart-healthy habit that you can enjoy every day. Walnuts are also plentiful in protein, antioxidants, and dietary fiber so they will help keep you full longer and prevent binging on unhealthy foods.
Nearly 60 percent of the fat contained in flaxseed is omega-3. They are also rich in dietary fiber, and plant estrogens known as lignans, which may have anti-tumor effects. One of the great things about flaxseed is that it’s so versatile. Ground flaxseed can be sprinkled over oatmeal and mixed into baked goods, while whole flaxseed adds a nice crunch to granola bars and other foods. For maximum nutrient absorption, it’s best to consume flaxseed in its ground form.
3) Chia Seeds
Just one ounce of chia seeds boasts close to five grams of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. Once per ounce, chia seeds contain up to eight times as much omega-3 as salmon. They help control blood sugar levels by slowing down the speed at which the body converts carbohydrates into simple sugars. Chia seeds are easy to digest and can be added to smoothies, juices, and other foods. Add them to your favorite kind of milk and set them in the refrigerator to form a delicious chia pudding!
Tasty soybeans are another excellent plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. This inflammation-fighting snack is also very satisfying because it supplies a hearty dose of protein and dietary fiber. Our soybeans and edamame are dry roasted for an incredible crunchy and delicious snack. Enjoy soybeans straight out of the bag or mix them with your favorite dried fruit for the perfect sweet and savory combination.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fat, including omega-3. They are an alkaline-forming food that promotes heart health, builds strong bones, and improves brain function. In fact, they are the only alkaline-forming seed. Pumpkin seeds have also been shown to reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels. A healthy addition to any diet, pumpkin seeds are also rich in protein, fiber and minerals like iron and potassium.
What are your favorite foods to boost your Omega-3 intake?