We tell you the best omega 3-rich foods, both from animal and plant sources.
These molecules are essential as our body does not have metabolic pathways specifically designed to generate them from other substrates.
What foods contain omega 3?
If we look only at the denomination “omega 3” (meaning that the first double bond is located in position 3 with respect to the “omega” carbon of the molecule), these polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in both animal and plant products.
But it’s not as simple as that.
There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids, principally (in realty there are up to 6): ALA or alpha linolenic acid; EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid; and DHA or docosahexanoic acid.
Of these three, two are predominantly found in foods of animal origin living in an aquatic environment (fish and seafood): EPA and DHA.
ALA, is also found in foods of plant origin, such as some nuts, seeds or soybeans.
Omega 3 carries out essential biological functions, being important in:
- The development and maturation of the central nervous system (be careful with its ingestion when pregnant);
- Good retina health;
- Correct functioning of coagulation; and
- Inflammation or, what is not too far away,
- Giving structural support to cellular membranes.
Other than fish
As we mentioned, if you are a vegan or vegetarian and want to have an adequate intake of omega 3, some foods that should not be missing in your diet are nuts, chia seeds, hemp and flax, soybeans and their derivatives.
The biologically active molecules (those that perform some of the important functions in your body that we have just mentioned) are EPA and DHA.
For ALA to become these two, a biological conversion process is required, which is quite inefficient. This means that only about 1-2% of the ALA content of these plant foods will be finally converted to DHA or EPA.
Is there an alternative for vegans?
Which fruits and vegetables contain omega 3?
In the plant kingdom there are some other interesting foods with a fairly decent omega 3 content. But I won’t tire of reminding you that they mainly contain ALA and not DHA or EPA.
- Avocado, in addition to being a source of fat-soluble vitamins (remember, A, D, E, K) and of vitamin C and B group vitamins, also have enough omega-3s to be included in this section.
One more reason to make that delicious avocado toast in the morning.
- Brussels sprouts. A single Brussels sprout provides more than 400 mg of omega 3. A shame that they’re not the most loved vegetable on earth.
- Nuts. 100 grams of nuts provide 2 mg of omega 3. Include them in your salads or with yoghurt in your desserts.
- Berries. It’s little kn, but raspberries, strawberries and other berries also provide omega 3.
Omega 3 in seeds
Two of the seeds with the most omega 3 are:
- Chia seeds: this product has become extremely popular in recent years. The internet is flooded with recipes like chia pudding.
- Flax seeds. Flax is rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, soluble fibre and some very interesting bioactive compounds that help prevent certain diseases.
List of foods rich in Omega 3
Finally, we leave you with a list of foods rich in omega 3 so that you can have them available whenever you want to increase their content in your diet.
|Food||Amount of Omega-3 grams / 100g|
|Caviar (not suitable for all pockets)||6.7|
|Brussels Sprouts (cooked)||0.17|
|Soy and Derivatives||1.4|
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