Omega-3’s are amazing!
A Miracle Food?
Omega-3’s are somewhat of a miracle food if there ever was one. Probably most of you have heard that they are good for us, but do you know why? They actually have many benefits, these are just a few key ones:
- They promote healthy aging.
- They are also good for our heart health by lowering blood cholesterol, lowering resting blood pressure, and decreasing inflammation.
- They have also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.
- They may protect baby’s and children’s brains to help prevent ADHD and other conditions related to spine and brain health.
It is unclear if omega-3 supplements have the same benefits as food. This means that we should try to be trying to get more of these wonderful fats in our diets. They are often a little challenging to get into our everyday eating plans, especially with our kids. I am lucky that my kids really like salmon, but that isn’t the case for many families. Don’t worry! There are actually many other foods that contain these omega-3’s that you can begin to use in your meal plans more often.
Kinds of Omega-3’s
There are a few different types of omega-3’s, and they are not all created equal. There are three main types: ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are all essential fatty acids, which means that our bodies cannot produce them, and so we must obtain them through our diets. ALA is found in plant sources of omega-3’s and EPA and DHA are found in seafood and in algae. EPA and DHA are the omega-3’s that our body ultimately uses. Our bodies do convert ALA to EPA and DHA, but in very small amounts. Therefore, it is BEST to get your omega-3’s through seafood or algae.
There is not enough research to establish an RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance). There is some research however, that shows we can make recommendations based on an AI (Adequate Intake). The AI for omega 3’s is 1.6 grams per day for men, and 1.1 grams per day for women. You can also check the chart here for AI’s for your kids.
Where can I find omega-3’s?
Omega-3’s are abundant in fish, but there are other places you can find them as well. As you can see salmon tops the chart as the best source. I have include some ideas and links to salmon recipes below if you would like to include more of this fish in your family’s diet.
|Source||Amount of Omega-3’s|
|Salmon 3.5 oz||4,023 mg|
|Hemp seeds, 1 Tbsp||3,000 mg|
|Walnuts, 7 each||2,542 mg|
|Chia seeds, 1 Tbsp||2,457 mg|
|Flaxseeds, ground, 1 Tbsp||2,338 mg|
|Oysters 3.5 oz||2,113 mg|
|Herring 3.5 oz||1,729 mg|
|Sardines 3.5 oz||1,480 mg|
|Soybeans, ½ cup roasted||1,241 mg|
|Cooked Spinach, 1 cup||352 mg|
|Winter Squash, 1 cup cooked||338 mg|
|Cauliflower, 1 cup cooked||208 mg|
|Blueberries, 1 cup||174 mg|
|Wild Rice, ½ cup||156 mg|
|1 whole Mango||77 mg|
|Spirulina (algea), 1 Tbsp||58 mg|
|Brussel sprouts, ½ cup||44 mg|
Easy ways to add more omega-3’s to your diet
- Add seeds above to a smoothie
- Switch to wild rice
- Try to eat a leafy green or winter squash every day
- Increase intake of blueberries and mango
- Eat salmon or other seafood from the list above once per week
Try these yummy salmon recipes to get those omega’s into your diet today. Enjoy!