Vegetarian Omega 3 Foods
Vegetarian omega 3 foods can make a significant contribution to your fatty acid requirement but, with the exception of algae, provide only ALA. To meet your EPA and DHA requirement you will either need to take algae supplements or eat non-vegetarian foods.
Which types of vegetarian food contain omega 3 (n-3)?
Vegetarian food sources of n
-3 PUFAs include:
- Seeds and seed oils - some, such as chia, sacha inchi and flax, contain high levels of ALA
- Vegetables - some vegetables, such as certain squashes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, contain moderate levels of ALA
- Other vegetarian foods - some algae contain high levels EPA and DHA while walnuts contain high levels of ALA
Seeds have the highest n-3 of all vegetarian foods
Of all vegetarian foods, chia, sacha inchi and flax seeds have by far the highest n
Chia and sacha inchi have been grown as important foods in South America for several centuries and have been attracting growing interest outside of that continent in recent years.
Vegetables are also a worthwhile source of n-3
Although vegetables contain much lower levels of n
-3 than the seeds mentioned above, some are nevertheless good sources of n
- They contain small but significant quantities of ALA
- They have low levels of LA and therefore have a favorable n-3 to n-6 balance
- They are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, other micro-nutrients and fiber
- They have (in most cases) a low glycemic index
How can I improve my n-3 to n-6 ratio through vegetarian foods?
To improve your n
-3 to n
-6 intake ratio:
Discover why the balance of n-3 to n-6 in your diet is important
Find out about non-vegetarian omega 3 foods
- Find ways to include seeds such as chia, and seed oils such as sacha inchi, in your diet
- Eat walnuts regularly
- Substitute some vegetables for those that are higher in omega-3 and have a lower glycemic index
- Take high quality algae supplements