Omega-3 is a very important fat. Our bodies need the fatty acid in order to function properly. Foods, which have high Omega-3, are Mackerel, Salmon, Herring and flax seeds. These healthy fats can improve your heart health, lower high blood pressure, reduce blood clotting in the arteries, reduce inflammation and help to prevent joints from stiffening up. But that’s not all Omega has to offer in terms of goodness.
But apparently we westerners do not eat enough of it, so much so that the average person gets less than 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids per day.
So what are the recommendations for daily Omega- 3 fats? Well I would say that at least 2% of our total daily calories should come from omega-3 fats. E.g for someone eating 2,000 calories for their diet, should really be eating at least 2 grams of omega-3 fats per day.
Now I would like to share with you the best ways of getting Omega-3 into your diet!
- FISH- It’s an obvious choice but still one to mention. It is really good for boosting your Omega-3 levels, giving you around 2 grams of Omega-3 for a 4 ounce serving of oily fish.
Bonus tip: When cooking your fish stay away from frying it, as this can really alter the omega-3 fats. Good choices of fish include Salmon, Halibut, Tuna, Sardines, Prawns and Mackerel.
- Nuts & Seeds- Walnuts and Flaxseeds are both excellent ways to get more Omega-3 into your diet. Did you know that one- quarter cup of flaxseeds has around 7 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, while one- quarter cup of Walnuts contains around 2 grams.
Bonus tip: An easy way to add more Omega-3s to your diet is, if you eat oatmeal add some ground flaxseeds, and then snack on a handful of walnuts later on in the day. Can’t go wrong!.. unless you don’t like oatmeal (oops). Choices include pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts. Although these have very small amounts of omega-3 per serving, they are still a healthy option and a small amount per day is better than nothing at all at the end of the day!
- Oils- Sunflower oil is used so much theses days in food manufacturing that most people have a higher intake of omega-5 to omega-3 fats in their diets. The imbalance has the potential to restrict the conversion of Omega-3 fats in your body, which is undesirable. The ideal balance is thought to be around three to four parts omega-6 to one of omega-3. The Oils to use regularly are as follows:
Flaxseed oil, Soybean oil, Canola oil, Walnut oil and Wheat germ oil.
Bonus Tip: When purchasing seed oils, go for cold varieties, and do not use Flaxseed, olive or walnut oil in cooking, as they don’t withstand high temperatures well. Theses types of oils are, however, brilliant choices for salad dressing, etc.
- Beans- Are among my top healthy foods to include in your diet regularly. And, here is another reason to eat them as regularly as you can. One cup of soybeans, navy beans, or kidney beans provides you with up to 1.0 gram of Omega-3s. A serving of tofu (4 ounces) will also give you around 0.4 grams of omega-3s, so tofu is also a healthy option.
- Fruits & Vegetables– most people associate fish and oils with Omega-3 fats, but do not know that Fruits & Vegetables are also beneficial for providing smaller amounts of Omega-3 fats. Some of the best options for vegetables include Spinach, Leafy Green vegetables, cabbage and Broccoli. For fruit, Papaya, Avocado and even Cantaloupe melon are good choices.
- Omega-3 Supplements? – As with most nutrients, you are much better off getting them directly from a food source, rather than popping a pill.