Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our health and play a pivotal role in a broad range of cellular and bodily functions. The most common source of Omega-3 is from fish oils, however, if you are following a vegan or plant-based diet, it’s important to know where you can find your best sources of Omega-3.
What is a Vegan Diet?
Overall, veganism is defined by the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet. Vegans will not eat any foods derived from animals, including animal by-products such as dairy, eggs, and honey. A vegan diet entails only plants, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, and grains, and foods made from plants such as soy-based meat alternatives. This is why it is also often referred to as a ‘plant-based’ diet.
Top 10 Plant-based Omega-3 Sources
There are 3 main types of Omega-3: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). The Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of EPA and DHA are most commonly found in seafood. However, there are also a wide variety of plant foods that contain readily available Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of ALA, which includes:
- Flaxseeds – two tbsp of ground flaxseed contains approx. 6,388 mg of ALA
- Hemp seeds – two tbsp of hemp seeds contain approx. 6,000 mg of ALA
- Chia Seeds – 2 tbsp will provide 5,060 mg of ALA
- Edamame – half a cup contains 358mg of ALA
- Avocados – one medium-sized avocado contains 223mg of ALA
- Brussell Sprouts – half a cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 135 mg of omega-3 fatty acids
- Walnuts – two tbsp of walnuts provides 2,570 mg of ALA
- Kidney beans – half a cup of beans contains 0.10 grams of omega-3s
- Soybeans – half a cup of dry roasted soybeans contains 1,241 mg
- Seaweed and algae – nori, spirulina, and chlorella are different forms of algae that can have many health benefits
Incorporating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet each day, including plant oils, ground flaxseeds, chia, hemp seeds, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and organic soy products can help boost your plant-based Omega-3 intake. These plant-based Omega 3 sources can be easily added to your weekly diet. Flaxseed, chia, and hemp seeds can be added to smoothies, used when baking, or even sprinkled on yoghurts and salads.
However, it can be challenging to obtain the optimum levels of Omega-3 from diet alone, especially a plant-based diet. To be beneficial, ALA needs to be converted into EPA and DHA in order to be used by the body. Therefore, EPA and DHA are the superior Omega-3 fatty acids, of which additional supplementation is often required, especially when following a vegan diet.
MINAMI’s Vegan Friendly Omega-3