Omega-3s are “essential” fatty acids because our bodies aren’t capable of producing them on their own. Therefore, we must rely on omega-3 foods in our diets to supply these extremely heart-healthy nutrients.
There are three different types of omega-3s: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The preferred sources are DHA and EPA, found in seafood sources such as salmon and sardines. ALA is found in some plant foods, including certain nuts and seeds.
While EPA and DHA are the preferred sources of omega 3s, all types are beneficial and encouraged, so add nuts and seeds to your breakfast or have an anchovy pizza for dinner. Experts from Harvard Medical School consider all sources of omega-3s crucial in the diet. If you’re looking to increase your omega-3s, try adding these foods to your meals:
- Anchovies – Omega-3s: 597 mg per 1 ounce boneless
While salmon, tuna, halibut, and other popular fish are well known for their omega-3 content, the anchovy is often forgotten about. But just a couple slices of anchovy pizza get you more than halfway to your daily requirement of omega 3s. Anchovies are also rich in calcium and potassium, as well as vitamin A.
- Firm Tofu – Omega-3s: 814 mg per 3-ounce serving
A vegetarian staple, tofu offers omega-3s in addition to being a protein powerhouse. Add tofu to a miso soup, or incorporate some into a berry smoothie.
- Walnuts – Omega-3s: 2,500 mg per ¼ cup
Walnuts pack the most omega-3 punch of any nut or seed, and they’re also high in disease-fighting antioxidants. This combination, according to a recent study, is highly protective against heart disease. The benefits of walnuts include helping reduce blood pressure and decrease inflammation in the blood vessels during times of stress. Snack on them plain or toss them on your salad for a heart-healthy crunch!
- Spinach – Omega-3s: 352 mg per ½ cup (cooked)
At only 40 calories per cooked cup, spinach is an excellent source of Omega 3s. The green color of spinach comes from the chlorophyll present in it. Chlorophyll is a rich source of vitamins like vitamin A and C. Spinach is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world due to its nutritional value and the benefits it provides to human body.