Omega-3s are essential to incorporate into a diet. Not only may they help lower the risk of heart disease, but they are also vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Many people get them naturally in fish, but that poses a problem when fish isn’t an option (either fish doesn’t taste good, or an allergy is involved). If fish isn’t an option, it’s essential to find other omega-3 rich foods that can improve a diet. Luckily omega-3s are being added to many things today, from eggs to flaxseeds. While on a low carb diet omega-3s are essential to incorporate into a diet. Check out The Body Reboot book to learn more about how a low carb diet can benefit life in more ways than one. Many people have found success not only with weight loss, but are experiencing more energy, less inflammation, and taking less medication. Part of that success is due to eating the right nutrients, such as omega-3s. Find out what foods you can find omega-3s in beside fish.
Before we launch into non-fish related foods that are packed full of omega-3s, here’s a brief overview from WebMD on omega-3s and what the Adequate Intake (AI) is for adults:
There are different types of omega-3s: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
Your body can turn ALA into DHA and EPA, though not very efficiently. So, many dietitians recommend getting DHA and EPA. (Plant based ALA is only about 10% as effective as marine based DHA and EPA.) While there's no standard recommendation for how many omega-3s we need, dieticians consider the Adequate Intake (AI) for adults to be 1600 milligrams (mg) for men and 1100 mg for women. You can find more than 500 mg in a can of tuna or a few ounces of salmon. Some fortified foods offer 100 mg or more.
Everyday Health tells us three different food sources that have plenty of omega-3s if you’re not crazy about fish. Mixed greens are indeed low carb friendly, as is canola oil and walnuts.
Mixed greens. A salad of kale, spinach, and other dark leafy greens is another excellent choice. One cup gives you 56 percent of your daily value, so eat 2 cups to get over the hump.
Canola oil. While not as potent as flaxseed oil, a tablespoon of canola oil gives you 11 percent of the amount of ALA you need on a daily basis. It’s best not to rely too heavily on it because like all oils, it is high in calories.
Walnuts. A quarter-cup provides 14 percent of the ALA you need every day, along with other nutrients such as manganese. Again because of the calories, limit portions.
In addition to mixed greets, other healthy veggies have omega-3s. Check it out (thanks, Web MD!) below:
Fresh Produce With ALA Omega-3s
Vegetables, especially green leafy ones, are good sources of ALA, one form of omega-3 fatty acids. Although ALA isn't as powerful as the other omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, these vegetables also have fiber and other nutrients, as well as omega-3s.
WebMD also gives us a list of the oils that have omega-3s. Check on the carbs on some of these oils before pouring it all over your salad!
Oil With ALA Omega-3s
Oils can be a good source of ALA omega-3s, too, including:
Cod liver oil
Medical News Today tells us that seaweed and algae are excellent sources of omega-3. If you happen to like sushi and are willing to give up the rice for a low carb diet, then you’re in luck because you can find plenty of seaweed on sushi rolls! However, most sushi has fish, so if you’re not crazy about fish, you can have a cucumber roll or eat seaweed as a snack. There are a few more ideas below, too.
Nori seaweed in a bowl with seeds on top.
Seaweed is a nutrient-dense food.
Seaweed, nori, spirulina, and chlorella are different forms of algae that many people eat for their health benefits.
Seaweed and algae are important sources of omega-3 for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet, as they are one of the few plant groups that contain DHA and EPA.
The DHA and EPA content varies depending on the type of algae and the particular product.
There are many ways to include these foods in the diet. For example:
Nori is the seaweed that most people use to wrap around sushi.
Seaweed is a tasty, crispy snack.
Chlorella and spirulina make a healthful addition to smoothies or oatmeal.
Seaweed is also rich in protein, and it may have antidiabetic, antioxidant, and antihypertensive properties.
People can find chlorella and spirulina in health-food stores or online. Shop here for chlorella and spirulina.
Medical News Today also says that flaxseeds are another excellent source of omega-3s. Flaxseeds also have a lot of fiber, so if you’re worried about carbs, you’re in luck because there are minimal carbs in flaxseeds.
Flaxseeds contain 6.703 g of ALA per tbsp.
Flaxseeds are one of the most healthful seeds that people can eat. They are rich in many nutrients, including:
These seeds may reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.
As with chia seeds, people can mix flaxseeds with water to create a vegan egg replacement. It is also easy to incorporate them into the diet by adding them to oatmeal, cereal, or salad.
Want to learn more about the nutrition flaxseeds provide? Healthline elaborates more on their excellent nutritional value below:
Flaxseeds are small brown or yellow seeds. They are often ground, milled or used to make oil.
These seeds are by far the richest whole-food source of the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Therefore, flaxseed oil is often used as an omega-3 supplement.
Flaxseeds are also very high in fiber, vitamin E, magnesium and other nutrients. They have a great omega-6 to omega-3 ratio compared to most oily plant seeds.
Omega-3 content: 2,338 mg per tablespoon (14.3 grams) of whole seeds, or 7,196 mg per tablespoon (14.3 grams) of oil.
Reader’s Digest gives us the excellent idea of eating eggs with flaxseed and canola oil, which both happen to be keto friendly. Get your low carb keto staples and omega-3s by eating an egg enriched with flaxseed and canola oil!
Eggs can be enriched when flaxseed and canola oil is added to hen feed, helping the chickens hatch eggs that contain the valuable nutrients. Eggland’s Best eggs are particularly high in omega-3s: Each egg contains 115 mg, which is twice as many of these healthy fats as regular eggs.
We already mentioned walnuts above, but Reader’s Digest reveals a bit more as to why walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3s.
Rich in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, walnuts pack in a significant amount of omega-3s (2,600 mg per ounce). Cook veggies and stir-fries in walnut oil instead of olive oil for ten times the amount of omega-3 acids, according to Discovery Fit & Health.
Wondering how omega-3s can benefit your health? Besides adding to your low carb diet, there are many health benefits from improving your cardiovascular health to preventing cancer. National Institutes of Health explains:
Many studies show that eating fatty fish and other types of seafood as part of a healthy eating pattern helps keep your heart healthy and helps protect you from some heart problems. Getting more EPA and DHA from foods or dietary supplements lowers triglyceride levels, for example. But whether omega-3 supplements protect you from most heart problems is not clear. For example, a large clinical trial found that omega-3 supplements did not reduce the risk of having a major cardiovascular event (heart attack, stroke, or dying from a heart problem). However, the supplements did appear to reduce the risk of heart attacks specifically, especially among African Americans and those who didn’t eat fish very often. Other clinical trials in progress will help clarify whether omega-3 supplements affect cardiovascular disease.
Some studies suggest that people who get more omega-3s from foods and dietary supplements may have a lower risk of breast cancer and perhaps colorectal cancer. But a large clinical trial found that omega-3 supplements did not reduce the overall risk of cancer, or the risk of breast, prostate, or colorectal cancers. Other clinical trials in progress will help clarify whether omega-3s affect cancer risk.
Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive function
Some—but not all—research shows that people who consume more omega-3s from food such as fish may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other problems with cognitive function. More study of the effects of omega-3s on the brain is needed.
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Sources: Everyday Health, Medical News Today, Reader’s Digest, Healthline, National Institutes of Health, WebMD
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