12 Foods That Are Very High in Healthful Omega-3s

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12 Foods That Are Very High in Healthful Omega-3s
Infographic – herbshealthhappiness.com Photo sources – see foot of article

Fats are not always the villains – they’re sometimes misjudged heroes. Case in point: Omega-3 fats. These polyunsaturated fatty acids play a vital role in the proper functioning and health of our bodies. But unlike other categories of fats, Omega-3 fatty acids are “essential” – which means they cannot be adequately synthesized by the body and thus need to be consumed in sufficient quantity for optimal health. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA), and other Omega-3s can only be obtained through our diet. So, unless you want to buy over-the-counter supplements, below is a list of foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids:

1. Flax Seeds: These yellow-brown seeds are among the most abundant sources of Omega-3 fatty acids as far as whole foods are concerned. A tablespoon (13.6 grams) of flaxseed oil contains as much as 7,260 mg. [1]

2. Herring: Ever seen Nat Geo videos of medium-sized fish that move in large schools? Well, they were probably herring. These forage fish are popular breakfast delicacy in England, where it’s sold as a canned snack. 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of herring contains 2,366 mg Omega-3 content. [1]

3. Seaweed: Are you on a vegan or vegetarian diet, but you love seafood? Some forms of algae, spirulina, nori, and seaweed are important sources of healthful Omega-3s. The plant foods contain both DHA and EPA fatty acids – which is not common.

4. Salmon: Salmon is among the most commonly consumed fish, and for a good reason – it’s high in nutrients such as B Vitamins, selenium, Vitamin D, and Omega-3s. 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of salmon fillet contains 2,260 mg Omega-3 content. [1]

5. Oysters: What comes to mind when you think of oysters? You just pictured a pearl necklace, didn’t you? Aside from the hard, glistening balls, oysters are renowned for their high nutritional content. As an item in our dinner tables, oysters are rich in Vitamin B12, copper, and zinc. A single serving of the shellfish contains 435 mg Omega-3 content per 100 grams. [1]

6. Soybeans: Soybeans are a bit controversial when it comes to healthful fats. On the one hand, they are a good source of Omega-3s (1,443 mg per 100 grams [1]) and other nutrients such as potassium, riboflavin, folate, and Vitamin K. On the contrary, some studies [2] claim that the legume is rich in Omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause inflammation in high doses.

7. Walnuts: Since ancient times, walnuts have been valued for their health benefits and of course, flavor. The single-seeded nuts are a perfect source of fiber, copper, Vitamin E, manganese, proteins, and healthful polyunsaturated fats. To be precise, an ounce of walnuts contains up to 2.570 mg Omega-3 content. [1]

8. Chia Seeds: Rich in magnesium, selenium, manganese, and all essential amino acids – chia seeds are a nutrition powerhouse. One ounce or 28 grams of chia seeds contains 5,060 mg Omega-3 fatty acids. [1]

9. Cod Liver Oil: Although cod liver oil is more of a supplement, it earns a spot in this list due to its high Omega-3 content and mainstream status. As you can already guess, the oil is extracted from a codfish’s liver. A tablespoon of cod liver oil contains Vitamins A, D, and approximately 2,682 mg Omega-3 fatty acids. [1]

10. Sardines: Sardines are a versatile dietary item – served as a delicacy, snack, or starter. Consuming 3.5 ounces of drained sardines provides your body with 1,480 mg Omega-3 content [1], selenium, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D.

12. Mackerel: Rich in nutrients, require little preparation, and mouthwatering – mackerels are an ideal addition to your budget. More importantly, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture [1] shows that a slated piece of the small fatty fish contains up to 4,107 mg Omega-3 content.

12. Caviar: Caviar is the hallmark of fine dining. The tiny black balls of sturgeon roe (eggs) are often eaten raw as a luxury menu item. While it’s not kind on your wallet, caviar is kind to your body. A single serving (14.3-gram tablespoon) contains 1,086 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids – or 6,786 mg per 100 grams (3.5 ounces). [1]


[1] USDA. (2019). FoodData Central. Retrieved 14 November 2019, from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html

[2] Patterson, E., Wall, R., Fitzgerald, G. F., Ross, R. P., & Stanton, C. (2012). Health implications of high dietary omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Journal of nutrition and metabolism, 2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3335257/

Infographic Photo Sources:

Herring – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sild_fra_Voer.jpg
Mackerel – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Maquereaux_etal.jpg
The rest – Pixabay (PD)

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