Five Plant Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

September 27, 2019
The healthy fats we'll talk about in this article benefit the body in many ways. Read on to learn all about them!

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats and, along with omega-6 fatty acids, form the so-called essential fatty acids. They get their name from the fact that they’re essential for the body, although it’s not able to produce it on its own. This means that we get these fatty acids from the foods we eat. Fortunately, there are many plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids out there.

The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

Capsules and letter blocks forming the word "omega-3" for plant sources omega-3

The properties of omega-3 fatty acids benefit the body in many essential ways. Some of them are:

  • They have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids boost the production of HDL ( “good cholesterol”) and the elimination of LDL ( “bad cholesterol”). This hinders the formation of atheromatous plaque on artery walls.
  • They lower triglyceride levels.
  • These fatty acids help lower blood pressure.
  • In children, they play an important role in brain maturation and growth.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids protect against many diseases such as diabetes, stroke, some cancers, and ulcerative colitis, among others.
  • They have anticoagulant properties.
  • They reduce the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Nevertheless, the daily dosage of omega-3 fatty acids has yet to be established. However, it should be noted that some studies have shown that one gram a day significantly reduces cardiovascular risk.

Five plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids

Below, we’ll explain the nutritional properties of five plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids that you should incorporate into your diet to enjoy good health and possibly prevent many diseases. However, don’t forget that there are many more plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids than the ones we mention here!

1. Linseed oil and olive oil

Olive oil: plant sources omega-3

Olive oil is one of the most important sources of essential fatty acids. It’s a basic pillar of the Mediterranean diet.

Linseed oil is made up of 75% omega-3 and 25% omega-6. It’s a very important food for prostaglandin metabolism, as these nutrients regulate inflammation. One tablespoon contains approximately seven grams of omega-3, why is why it’s one of the most important plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Meanwhile, olive oil also helps people meet their polyunsaturated fat needs. It’s very simple and healthy to add a splash of olive oil to bread for breakfast or salad for lunch.

2. Microalgae

“Microalgae” are forms of small algae, like Chlorella.

Chlorella is the richest algae in omega-3 fatty acids, followed by spirulina and Klamath, although it’s taken in small doses. In addition to the fact that these algae are rich in these nutrients, they also have important antioxidant effects.

This article may interest you: 5 Signs That You’re Deficient in Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

3. Nuts: One of the most important plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids

Nuts have a balanced ratio of 5:1 between omega-3 and 6. If you consume 14 nuts (approximately 60 grams), you cover 50% of the daily requirements of omega-3.

4. Chia seeds are one of the plant sources omega-3

Chia seeds.

Today, a lot of diet plans have decided to incorporate chia seeds as a source of essential fatty acids.

Chia seeds are another important plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, along with flax seeds. They contain 33% fat (62% omega-3 and 20% omega 6). However, you should bear in mind that you have to soak these seeds before consuming them.

Many people, especially vegetarians, have started incorporating them into their diets. Thus, this product, which first went on sale in health food shops and specialty stores, is now easy to find in supermarkets.

5. Avocadoes are healthy plant sources of omega-3

Avocadoes have become increasingly popular. Some diets focus on them a lot due to their nutritional values since they contain a little bit of everything. They’re one of the most important plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Some neurology specialists even consider them one of the best foods to keep the brain healthy and prevent Alzheimer’s.

You should also read: 6 Amazing Natural Remedies with Avocado

Conclusion

All of these plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids can help you to meet WHO recommendations for Omega intake. It’s important to keep in mind that certain sectors of the population are more sensitive to this deficiency, such as children whose brains are developing. Therefore, be sure to include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in everyone’s diets for good health and to prevent future diseases.

  • Rodríguez Hernández, P. J. (2015). Omega 3 y neurodesarrollo. Canarias Pediátrica.
  • Simopoulos, A. P. (2002). Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2002.10719248
  • Swanson, D., Block, R., & Mousa, S. A. (2012). Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life. Advances in Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.111.000893