Top 5 Food Sources Of Omega-3 Fats
By Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic, PhD, RD
Omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which are the omega-3s found in seafood and fish, are special fats that our bodies do not make, but need for many essential functions. They have multiple and profound health benefits for every body, which include and are not limited to:
• Decreased risk and incidence of cardiovascular disease; healthier blood cholesterol profile
• Improved eye health, and reduced age-related eye degeneration
• Enhanced metabolism of dietary and endogenous fat
• Ideal neurocognitive development in infants and children
• Lessened PMS symptoms
However, very few of us consume enough DHA and EPA, mostly because we don’t know where or how to get them in our diets. Since very few goods contain these omega-3 fats, everyone needs to make an effort to get in as many of them as they can.
Today we’re going to make it easy for you and identify the top five sources of EPA and DHA fats so you and your family can be healthier, starting now!
1. Cold-Water Fish: Wild Salmon, Trout, Herring, and Sardines
These cold-water fish are very rich sources of EPA and DHA. Salmon and trout are best purchased wild or organically farmed. You can make salmon patties for dinner, or add sardines to a salad. Fresh caught, jarred, or canned varieties of these fish are equally high in these special fats, so you’re free to choose the form that works best for you. Just make sure you purchase jarred or canned items that have no added sugar or artificial flavors.
2. Seaweed, Spirulina, Chlorella
The cold-water fish listed above are rich in EPA and DHA due to their consumption of seaweed, which they convert to and store as EPA and DHA. You can add these special green foods to smoothies, or eat them on a salad. They’re also a rich source of iodine, which supports normal thyroid function.
3. Krill oil and Fish Oil
For some people, the simplest and most cost-effective way to get EPA and DHA omega-3 fats into their diets is to take it in supplement form. The two most concentrated sources of EPA and DHA are krill and fish oils. Ensure that you’re buying these oils from a reputable source that screens their product for mercury contamination, so that you avoid this harmful chemical at all costs. Fish also carries the risk of mercury, but salmon, trout, herring, and sardines contain very little compared to fish like swordfish and tuna.
4. Omega-3 Eggs
These special eggs come from chickens that were fed fish or algae oils. The EPA and DHA are then stored within the bright yellow yolks, making them an ideal source of omega-3s for people that dislike eating fish directly. Have an egg or two a day in scrambled eggs, boiled on a salad, or cooked in a quiche, to give your body the omega-3 fats it needs.
5. Fortified Foods
Today you’ll notice that many more foods contain DHA that never used to. Items like milk and tomato sauce are now touted as a good way to get this special fat in your diet – and they are, as long as they’re not also loaded with sugar, so be sure to check labels. These foods are fortified with algae oil so they don’t taste fishy, and can be another great way to add these special fats to your diet. Use these foods, especially if eating fish or eggs is difficult.