Not all fats are unhealthy. Some dietary fats are extremely beneficial to human body. So, what matters most is the type of fat you eat. Among all other types of fats, the only fat you don’t want to cut back on is Omega 3 fatty acids.
There are two prominent omega-3 fatty acids – Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that are primarily found in fish.
Omega 3 fatty acids are proved beneficial for brain health, to regulate clotting & inflammation.
Fish is the popular & one of the prime sources of omega 3 fatty acids. So, If you’re a vegan, do you need to worry about Omega-3’s in your diet?
Moreover, is this really true that Fish is the only source to get these essential fatty acids? Let’s find out!
Are There Any Vegan Sources For DHA & EPA?
In an effort to find suitable vegan food sources for omega 3 fatty acids, we did some research and found this post on the benefits of DHA for everyday health.
Interestingly, we found that our bodies can’t generate these essential fatty acids and we need to get them through food.
Moreover, apart from DHA & EPA, our bodies also require alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in walnuts, leafy greens & vegetable oils.
To make things more gripping, we came across a research which supports the claim that human bodies can convert ALA to DHA, which is majorly found in fish.
So, you don’t need to eat fish to get ample amount of omega-3’s as long as you feed yourself with the foods that are packed with omega 3 fatty acids.
However, only 5% of ALA is converted to EPA and 0.5% to DHA. So, when you’re feasting on vegan food, it’s REALLY IMPORTANT to eat foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Here are 11-best plant sources for Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
8 Best Vegan Food Sources of Omega-3 DHA & EPA
Seaweed & Algae:
Seaweed, Chlorella, Nori & Spirulina are some types of edible algae which have high sources of omega-3 fatty acids. As these are some of the few plant groups that are rich in DHA & EPA, Seaweed & other edible algae are the best vegan foods to eat to maintain healthy levels of omega-3’s in the body.
- Nori is used as a sushi wrap
- Eat Seaweed as crispy snack
- Use Chlorella & Spirulina in smoothies
Chia seeds are one of the super foods that are rich in plant based omega-3 ALA, Fiber and protein. 5gm of ALA is found in 28gm serving of Chia seeds.
- Chia seeds are used in granola, smoothies or salads
- Can be consumed directly after soaking for 30-minutes
Hemp seeds are exceptionally nutritious & are rich in omega-3’s, proteins and Minerals. In every 3tbsp of hemp seeds contain 2.605gm of ALA.
- Hemp Seeds are slightly sweet & make a great addition to granola, snack bars or oats
- Sprinkle hemp seeds on everything – From salad to cereal
Brussels may not be a versatile food source in many cuisines, but they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to that, brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin K and Vitamin C. Half cup of Brussels Sprouts contain up to 44gm of ALA & 78gm of cooked Brussels sprouts contain around 135gm ALA.
- Brussels sprouts taste delicious & are healthy when roasted or steamed or stir-fried
Flaxseeds are one of the healthiest seeds one can eat. They are rich in protein, magnesium, fiber, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids. There is 6.7g of ALA in just a tablespoon of flaxseeds. They help in reducing blood pressure and boosts heart health.
- Mix flax seeds and chia seeds with water to make vegan egg replacement
- Add flax seeds to oatmeal, cereal or salad
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamins & minerals, walnuts have higher antioxidant levels than any other nut. A cup of walnuts contain 3.4gm of ALA.
- Snack on walnuts on their own
- Add them to granola, snack bar, salad or any other cooked dish
Popular in Japan, Edamame are immature soybeans which are rich in saturated & polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, edamame is loaded with plant-based protein.
- Boil or steam edamame and a pinch of salt to savor the beans
- Boiled edamame goes well with salads or any other snacks
Kidney beans are loaded with protein, carbs, fiber & healthy fats (Omega-3). A half cup of kidney beans contain 0.10gm of ALA.
- For a delicious snack, cook Kidney Beans and add a dash of lemon, a pinch of paprika & salt
- Make a curry or stew with kidney beans and eat it with rice
Best Vegan DHA Supplements Available In The Market
Fortunately for us, with the increased awareness about the importance of DHA to everyday human health, in addition to fish oils, plant-based or vegan DHA supplements are readily available for people like you who follow a vegan diet.
OVEGHA – Vegan Omega 3 DHA Supplement
Freshfield Vegan Omega 3 DHA Supplement
Omega 3 Fatty acids are an essential part of everyday diet. If you don’t eat fish as you’re vegan, or for any perfornal preference, you can always feast on other foods rich in Omega 3 DHA and reap the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids.