Omega-3 fatty acids are an incredibly important part of our daily nutrition. Not only has it been proven to help fight heart disease, but also promotes weight loss, hair and nail growth, and immunity support.
When I was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2010, my doctor suggested I take at least 1 entire gram of any Omega-3 oil a day. I did not want to spend my entire day having to space out when I was going to take my supplements next, so I learned more about the different sources of Omega-3s and how to get them into my food. (It isn't just fish oil!)
After trying it, I had considerably less joint pain. I could move around with much more ease, and I was getting a little bit slimmer too! Needless to say, I highly recommend upping your daily intake of Omega 3s. I am sure you will see quite a difference!
The following is a list of Omega-3 sources suitable for vegans or vegetarians - or really for anyone who is interested in getting more AHA/DHA into their diet.
1. Flax Seeds
Flax seed is perhaps the most popular plant source of Omega-3s. One thing to note is that if you're cooking with flax seeds, you should make sure your seeds are as pulverized as possible to make sure you are getting as much health benefit out of it as possible. Add two tablespoons of flax seed powder to your breakfast smoothie or oatmeal, and you've got enough ALA fuel (alpha-linolenic acid - the part of the Omega-3 compound that stabilizes blood sugar and promotes weight loss) to last you through the day.
Flax seed powder also works great as a healthy additive in homemade baked goods, and I've found quite a few clicking around here in Vingle. I also found a great flax recipe posted by @alise for Flax and Oat Porridge with Grilled Peaches. (Okay, so that's not chocolate chip cookies, but seriously, doesn't it sound incredible?)
2. Dark Leafy Greens
We always hear about the nutritional benefit of having dark, leafy greens in our diets, but did you know they were a fantastic source of Omega-3s too? Both kale and spinach, for example, pack about 55% of our daily allowance of ALA per cup. So, for lunch, how about throwing together a delicious salad from two cups of baby spinach? Or better yet, check out my Vingle card, Vegan DIY: Make Yourself Some Kale Chips, for some Omega-3 rich snacking inspiration.
3. Wild Rice
So many of us, especially when we're being carb-conscious, don't usually think of rice as something beneficial for our diet. Or if we do, we typically think of brown rice. However, wild rice is incredibly nutritious, especially in regards to Omega-3s. Just one-half of a cup of wild rice packs 250 grams. (That's more than two supplements' worth of nutrition!) Wild rice also contains zinc, potassium, magnesium, protein, fiber, and an assortment of B vitamins. Plus, it is such a simple staple food to incorporate into your weekly meal plan without getting bored or breaking budget.
Not a fan of walnuts in your homemade brownies? Now would be a good time to start reconsidering! Walnuts are not only an extremely high protein source, but also offer a walloping punch of 2600 mg of Omega-3s per ounce. (PER OUNCE!) Throw them into your oatmeal or into your salads. Or even store some of @Spudsomma's Baklava Walnuts into an air-tight container for a go-to treat you can easily bring with you on your way to work, school, or the gym!