Most folks are hip to the fact that they need more omega-3 fats in their diet, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually eating enough. Here’s a refresher on why omega-3s do the body good and some delish recipes to boost your intake.
There are 3 main types of omega-3 fats that are typically referred to by their abbreviated names DHA, EPA and ALA. The DHA and EPA types are plentiful in fish and help fight inflammation. They also contribute to heart health, brain function and immunity. If that’s not enough, they also help with healthy joints, skin, eyes and skin. The ALA type of omega-3 is found mostly in plant-based foods. Once eaten, the body converts ALA to a small amount of DHA and EPA. ALA-rich foods are good for you for a variety of reasons but to really reap the benefits of omega-3, you want to make sure to get most of them from EPA and DHA.
Experts recommend getting about 1,000 milligrams of omega-3s per day, mostly from DHA and EPA.
Salmon is one of the best fish choices for healthy fats. A 4-ounce (raw) portion will serve up more than 1600 milligrams of DHA and EPA.
The tiny seeds pack a flavorful punch and one tablespoon has over 2300 milligrams of ALA omega-3. Drizzle flax oil over salads or add a few drops to a soup or smoothie. Ground seeds (sometimes called flax meal) can be added oatmeal, smoothies and breads. Add flax to baked goods like muffins and cookies to replace some of the fat.
The meaty texture and mild flavor of fresh tuna is hard to beat. Plus, a 3-ounce (raw) portion has 1100 milligrams of omega-3. To learn more about the mercury in fish, visit the FDA website. Use can also use the gotmercury.org calculator to help keep your intake of mercury in check. Canned chunk light tuna is another low-mercury and budget-friendly pick.
Recipe: Tuna in Tomato-Tarragon Broth
Crunchy, yummy and loaded with omega-3s, ¼ cup of walnuts has 2600 milligrams of ALA. Snack on raw or dry-roasted walnuts solo or add some to salads, pesto sauce, zucchini bread or muffin recipes. Grind up with breadcrumbs to make a nutty coating for chicken or fish or make spiced nuts.
Recipe: Lightened Up Zucchini Bread
Chickens are often fed omega-3 rich foods that’ll boost the content in the eggs they produce. Depending on the brand, an egg can vary anywhere from 40 to 250 milligrams of DHA and EPA. Whatever eggs you choose, just don’t skip the yolk – that’s where all those healthy fats are hiding.
Recipe: Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata
Remember the Chia Pet? Well chia seeds are back – this time as the superfood du jour. A tablespoon of these seeds also has nearly 2400 milligrams of ALA. Use in similar fashion as flax seeds or try this unique and refreshing drink.
Recipe: Chia Limeade
This light and versatile oil is a must-have pantry staple. Next to flaxseed oil, it has the most omega-3 with 1200 milligrams of ALA per tablespoon. The neutral flavor and high smoke point of canola oil makes it a perfect choice for salad dressings, baking, frying and even pie crust.
Recipe: Canola Pie Dough