Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, treat depression, and boost brain health. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this nutrient plays a crucial role in brain function and heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids aid in numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain. Since our bodies cannot produce these acids, we must get them through food.
There are two major types of omega-3s in our body. One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), and flaxseed, and in walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens. The other type, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fatty fish.
For omega-3 fats, it is recommended to eat an average of at least 2.5 grams per day. On some days, you might get slightly less, but over the course of an entire week, you should aim to average at least this amount.
Vegetarians have low omega-3 intake and blood levels, and in some cases, older vegetarians have close to no DHA in the blood. Health experts recommend an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 4:1. Most American diets contain way too many omega-6 fatty acids, which are common in seed oil, animal fat, and processed foods. Here, we list the top vegetarian sources of omega-3s to increase your chances of living a healthy life:
Brussels sprouts are best known for promoting healthy and beautiful skin. They burst with nutrients, including omega-3s. One serving of brussels sprouts contains 430 mg of alpha-linolenic acid, making it one of the best vegetarian sources of omega-3s.
One cup of cauliflower contains about 37 mg of omega-3s. Cauliflower is also loaded with other nutrients including potassium, magnesium, and niacin.
A one-cup serving of avocado contains around 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and more than 3000 mg of omega-6.
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with omega-3s and a good bit of omega-6 and omega-9.
These are some of the best vegetarian sources of omega-3s you can try. The best part is they are healthy and contain fewer calories than the food items you might generally be eating.