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Posted on June 5, 2018
If you’re a plant-based alpha, you’ve probably been hearing lots about Omega-3, -6 and -9. They’re all important to your health but in different ways. Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential fatty acids, which your body can’t produce them on its own. Omega-9 is a non-essential fatty acid and can be created by the body. That doesn’t mean there aren’t health benefits to consuming it though, and it’s easy to find Omega-9 in olive oil, walnuts, almonds and cashews. Similarly, plant-based sources of Omega-6 are abundant, and the standard North American diet has too much!
Omega-3s, on the other hand, are harder to find. We’re always hearing about how fatty fish is a great source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, but there are also many great plant-based sources. It’s completely possible to meet your nutritional needs of 1.6 grams per day of Omega-3 and eat some tasty, plant-based meals in the process.
There are many benefits to consuming a diet rich in Omega-3 like reducing inflammation and supporting a stronger immune system, healthy brain development and cardiovascular health as well as healthier skin and hair. And who doesn’t want all of that? But what are the best ways to increase Omega-3 in your diet?
Flaxseeds are one the most abundant sources of plant-based Omega-3 essential fatty acids with each tablespoon containing 2.4 grams and flaxseed oil contains a whopping 8 grams of Omega 3s per tablespoon. They are also a great source of fiber and lignans as an added nutritional benefit. It’s easy to incorporate them into a plant-based diet. For example, you can put ground flax into smoothies, oatmeal or baked goods, and flaxseed oil works great as a dressing for salads or as a finishing step for roasted veggies.
Chia seeds are another great source of plant-based Omega 3s with approximately 2.4 grams per tablespoon. In addition, they also boost an impressive amount of fiber and manganese. They are great sprinkled on salads, in smoothies and oatmeal, or in chia seed puddings.
Hemp seeds have a more modest amount of Omega-3s, but they also boast a high Omega-6, protein and iron content. They can almost be added to anything as a topper and have a great nutty flavor that enhances many plant-based dishes.
A one-ounce serving of walnuts provides around 2.5 grams of Omega-3s and are definitely a tasty way to up your intake while also being a great source of Omega-6, -9 and vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, copper and folic acid. They make a great snack on their own or go great with brownies and could be added to our dairy-free cream cheeze brownies.