can we source or need of omega 3 from a plant based diet ?
The question that most vegans face everyday is where do you get your essential nutritions from? From questioning the sources of protein to omega 3.
As most people wrongly assume that omega 3 only exist in animal sources, there are tones of plant-based sources for omega 3. In this article we are going to talk about the importance of omega 3 for brain health and plant-based sources of it.
Omega 3 and mind health
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that our body does not produce by itself and it needs to get this fat through foods or supplements.
Omega 3 contains three different types of acids, ALA, EPA and DHA. ALA is the common fat that can be found in fish and plants but EPA and DHA are mostly found in animal sources. however our body can turn ALA to DHA and EPA so we do not need to consume animals in order to receive omega 3.
Study has shown consuming the right amount of omega 3 can improve mind health, fight depression, improve heart health, fight memory loss and can prevent cancer.
What are the plant-based sources of omega 3?
1. Flax and flaxseed
flax and flaxseed is the number one source for omega 3. 42% of flaxseed calories comes from fatty acids and that 42% is a compound of 73% polyunsaturated fat, 18% monounsaturated fat and 9% saturated fat. most of the polyunsaturated fat is made of ALA, the essential fatty acid.
Flaxseed comes in different shapes like flax oil, ground flax or whole flaxseed. All of these products can be added to your daily meals, such as salad, smoothie, bread, waffles, frozen yogurt and other ways. for adding oil make sure you use it as a dressing so all nutritions remain intact.
it is recommended to consume 1-2 tablespoon of flaxseed every day and not more than that.
Chia seed is the second best source for ALA. chia seed is full of good fats, fiber and protein. you can add it to your granola, water, smoothies, salads,shakes, yogurt, jams, muffins, bread and other things. You can be creative with chia and you do not to ground it in order for your body to absorb it.
The recommended taking amount for chia seed is 1-2 table spoon per day.
Yes you read it right. brussel sprouts are not only a great source of ALA but also they are filled with fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C. cooked brussel sprouts contain more omega 3 than raw, in fact half a cup of raw brussel sprouts contains 44 mg ALA on the other hand half a cup of cooked brussel sprouts contains 135 mg omega 3.
adding brussel and brussel sprouts in your daily meals can increase your brain and heart health and can defeat amnesia.
4.Algal, perilla, canola and sesame oil
All of the oils that was mentioned above contain omega 3 and they are plant based.
Algal oil is one of the few vegan sources of EPA and ALA. some studies has shown that algal oil (made of algae) is even comparable with seafood according to its nutritional availability.
Perilla oil which can be found usually in korean cuisine, is a tasteful oil that can be added to your cooking. this oil is one the good vegan sources of omega 3, a study has shown that by taking perilla oil the ALA amount in the blood will double and it will lead to an increase in EPA and DHA. For maximizing its health benefits it is recommended to be added as a flavour or dressing to your food, because oils high in polyunsaturated fats can oxidize with heat, forming harmful free radicals that contribute to disease.
Sesame is a nutritious seed full of helpful fats, although it’s high in calories but this calories are mainly from saturated fat. sesame oil is also rich in omega 3. a tablespoon of sesame oil contains 4omg omega 3.
5.Hemp seed and oil
Hemp seed are nutritious and tasty seeds with lots of health benefits. hemps seed is rich in protein, zinc vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, it also contains omega 3 and omega 6. each 28 grams(one ounce) of hemp seed contains 6,000 mg of ALA and comparing to its calories is such a healthy plant based source for good fats and nutritions. you can take hemp seed raw,cooked or roasted. You can simply add it to your bread, granola, salads and foods.
Hemp oil is made by pressing hemp seed and has the same nutritions as the seed and it has been used as a medicine in china for the last 3,000 years.
Walnuts are loaded with healthy fatty acids such as omega 3 and ALA. only one serving of walnut a day can provide an entire day omega 3 requirement.
To sum up:
Anyone can provide their daily need for omega3 from plants and no one needs to eat fish in order to absorb omega3. If you care about your mind health you don’t need to take fish oil supplements or fish. just with a a little research you can find a plant-based source for everything.