Omega -3 or alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and Omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) are groups of unsaturated fatty acids which the human body is unable to produce on its own. These fatty acids are essential to good health and are required to be consumed in our diets.
Most people have been lead to believe that the only way to get a healthy balance of omegas in our diets is to regularly eat fish. Eating fish certainly is a good source of omegas but comes with the added risk of increased uric acid which causes gout and increased mercury levels which can cause permanent damage to the brain, kidneys, vision and memory problems. The larger the fish, the higher the levels of mercury.
So, where can we get healthy Omegas from without the nasties?
By eating a well balanced plant-based diet, it is possible to get all the omega-3 and omega-6 that your body needs.
Sources of omega-6 include walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter and soy products such as, tofu. It’s quite easy to find at least one of these in most plant-based diets whereas, finding omega-3s may take a little more planning.
Some of the best sources of omega-3 fats are chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts and soy foods. The good news is that you don’t need to eat a lot to get your daily quota. In fact, you only need around 1 tablespoon of chia or flaxseed, 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds or about 6 walnut halves per day.
Sprinkle hemp seeds on your salads or porridge, grab a half a dozen walnuts as a morning snack, or make yourself some chia puddings to keep in the fridge.
If none of that appeals to you, that’s ok.
Seaweed, nori, chlorella, spirulina are all different types of algae containing essential omegas. As a matter of fact they are one of the few food groups containing both EPA and DHA fatty acids and are a complete source of omegas.
After all, this is where fish get their high omegas from.
Sushi rolls wrapped in nori, seaweed in noodle dishes or a teaspoon of spirulina in a green smoothie are great ways to add more omegas to your diet.
There’s also a huge range of vegan friendly omega supplements available for those who want a fast effective substitute to fish oil capsules.
So there you have it, it is not essential to eat fish to get healthy fats in your diet when they are readily available in plant foods.