Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of well-rounded nutrition, but they’re one of those things often associated with fad diets. You do need these essential fats, but they should come from the foods you eat. You must also eat the right amount. Following these two pointers, you can avoid weight-loss scams that talk about this substance. Look for omega-3 fatty acids for your daily diet naturally from these food sources.
Several types of fish are rich in omega-3. Fish are also a good substitute for sources of saturated fat, such as pork and dark meat chicken. These are some nutrient-rich fish to incorporate into your diet and how many grams of omega-3 you get per 3.5 ounces:
- Mackerel: 2.6 grams.
- Lake trout: 2 grams.
- Herring: 1.7 grams.
- Bluefin tuna: 1.6 grams.
- Salmon: 1.5 grams.
- Sardines: 1.5 grams.
- Albacore tuna: 1.5 grams.
Though fish are a fantastic source of omega-3, they also contain lots of mercury. This means you shouldn’t eat more than three servings of your favorite fish each week. You can find more information on healthy fats and how to balance a fish-focused diet with this guide from Lifesum on omega-3.
Omega-3 is naturally prevalent in some greens, though a few may not be commonly found in your favorite salads. Examples include grape leaves, broccoli, spinach, arugula, turnip greens, squash, and zucchini.
Greens should also be a priority in your diet if you want to restrict your carb intake. Vegetables provide much-needed fiber and a range of nutrients, so they’ll fill you up even though they have fewer calories than bad carbs like processed breads and foods with lots of refined sugar. This will help you manage your appetite, and nixing bad carbs from your diet will result in an immediate reduction in fat.
Though beans don’t offer as much omega-3 as seeds and nuts, they’re still a good source of this healthy fat. Plus, it’s easy to add some beans to your salad or as an addition to a plate of rice and fish. Mung beans, navy beans, kidney beans, soybeans, and pinto beans are especially great for your diet.
Outside of fish, nuts and seeds are two of the best natural sources for omega-3. Chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, radish seeds, alfalfa seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are all healthy choices. Simply mix some in with oatmeal, cream of wheat, or cereal, top a salad with some seeds, or reach for a handful as a snack.
Some nuts are excellent sources of omega-3, and they’re a fantastic substitute for unhealthy snack foods. Walnuts have 2.6 grams of omega-3 per ounce, and butternuts have 2.44 grams per ounce. Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and peanuts have less omega-3 but come with other beneficial nutrients to make them a good choice. Swap the processed crackers or croutons that normally go in your salad with nuts or seeds.
It’s important that your diet include a healthy amount of omega-3. Though many fad nutrition plans call for supplements, you can get enough of this vital fat from natural sources. Try out some recipes with the above ingredients to optimize your diet.