Foods Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids: The Health Benefits and Where to Find Them
Incorporating this essential nutrient is a key piece to optimal wellness
Throughout my career as a dietitian, I have had the pleasure of educating hundreds of people on the importance of including specific nutrients in their routine; and the top essential nutrient that gets brought up is Omega-3 fatty acids. The majority of people who I discuss this nutrient with have heard of the importance of consuming Omega-3s, however many are not aware of the reasons why.
Keep reading to learn the benefits of Omega-3s, foods rich in omega 3 and tasty ways to incorporate more of these fantastic fatty acids in your diet!
So what are Omega-3 fatty acids anyways?
At its core, Omega-3 is a type of polyunsaturated fat, a family of essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own.
Within the Omega-3 family, there are 3 key players:
- Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
- Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA)
Understanding these building blocks is fundamental to grasping the impact of Omega-3 on our health.
Benefits of Omega-3
EPA and DHA:
- Cardiovascular benefits: lowers your risk of heart disease, reduces blood pressure, prevents blood clots and lowers triglycerides (fats in your blood).
- General health benefits: reduces inflammation, supports lung health, immunity and hormone systems, and supports brain and eye development in infants and during pregnancy.
- Although ALA isn’t as impactful on heart health as EPA and DHA, it still lends its hand at supporting cardiovascular wellness.
- Preliminary research suggests it may help with asthma, dry eye and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Foods High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
EPA and DHA:
- Artic char
ALA can be found in a variety of plant foods such as:
- Nuts: Walnuts
- Seeds: Ground flax, chia, hemp
- Oils: Canola, soybean, walnut, flaxseed
Other foods which may have Omega-3 added are:
- Orange juice
Learn more about food sources of Omega 3.
How Much Omega-3 Do I Need? Do I Need Supplements?
EPA & DHA
As fatty fish is the best source of EPA and DHA, having two servings of these a week can help to meet your needs. A serving of fish is about 3.5 oz or roughly 100g. If you don’t enjoy fish or include it in your diet, there are vegan Omega-3 supplements and/or fish-based supplements you may wish to take. You can always ask your doctor or pharmacist to point you in the direction of their favourite brands.
Tasty Ways to Enjoy Omega-3’s
Check out these omega-3 recipes:
- Salmon sheet pan dinner
- Quinoa salad with walnuts
- Chia pudding
- Berry smoothie or peanut butter toast with ground flaxseeds
- Trout with creamy barley salad
Interested in receiving personal nutrition support? Our team of Registered Dietitians can help!
Our Registered Dietitian team specializes in nutrition for mental health, meal planning, weight concerns, emotional eating, eating disorders, digestive health and more. Find out more about our Dietitian Nutrition Counseling Programs here.
As trained Registered Dietitians, you can count on us for credible advice and practical meal planning so you don’t have to stress about food anymore. You can achieve a healthy and joyous relationship with food and your body. Let’s talk about what this can look like for you.
For more information related to Omega-3s and its food sources, check out these past blog posts!
8 Heart Healthy Snacks for Low Cholesterol
Anti-Inflammatory Foods For Everyday Eats!
The Top 3 Diets for Heart Health
Dietitian, Christine Devaney-Towsley
Christine Devaney Towsley B.A.Sc., RD
Registered Dietitian & Online Nutritionist
Specialty: weight concerns, intuitive eating, heart
health, family nutrition, IBS (irritable bowel disease)
A nurturer at heart, Christine will always greet you with a smile and
attentive ear. Kind hearted, empathetic and sensitive to others,
Christine takes the time to connect, build trust and truly understand
each client and tailors her sessions to each person's specific needs.