Vegan Sources of Omega 3
Omega 3 is a vital source of fatty acids needed for maintaining a strong and healthy body. They are most commonly found in fish, many forms of seafood, and oil derivatives such as fish oil. They can also be found in certain brands of milk, juices, eggs, and yogurts but there is one issue what about vegans? Luckily, there are many plant sources of omega 3 and vegan alternatives and substitutes to ensure vegan sources of omega 3 are incorporated into your diet.
What Is Omega 3?
In order to better understand where to get your source of omega 3 on a vegan diet let’s first understand what omega 3 is. Omega 3 is comprised of 3 different fatty acid sources ALA, EPA, and DHA. ALA is found mostly in oils so we automatically get that on a vegan diet, but the other two are largely found in fish and seafood products which we don’t consume. ALA and EPA are especially important as they help our eyesight, brain cells, and sperm cells to function properly, it is also what gives us energy and helps our heart, lungs, and immune system to stay healthy, balanced, and strong.
Vegan Dha Sources
Vegan sources of DHA can be found in many a variety of plant-based foods, oils, and supplements all of which are easy to find and are extremely helpful in upping your total omega 3 intakes. ALA is most commonly found in plant-rich sources but both EPA and especially DHA are more unlikely to be found and range from far and few in variety. ALA does convert into DHA and EPA once entering your body however this converts to a small amount, less than what is typically needed. So either your option is to find a great DHA supplement, vegan friendly of course, or incorporate a much large quantity and variety of ALA-rich foods to counteract into the recommended DHA serving.
Vegan Sources of Dha and EPA
There are very few sources of plant-based foods containing both EPA and DHA but the most come from the ocean, some of the best EPA and DHA plant-based sources include
These are all forms of algae that not only contain DHA and EPA, essential omega 3 fatty acids but also come with a large variety of other important and amazing health benefits.
There are many ways one can incorporate these omega 3 foods vegan friendly, for example, nori which is a type of seaweed that is wrapped around those delicious pieces of sushi you love to enjoy as a takeout treat. Vegan sushi is readily available at most sushi restaurants and can be bought at most grocery stores or Asian supermarkets and can be used to make your very own sushi from home or incorporated into salads, vegan rice bowls, and curries. Many also like to enjoy seaweed as a salty and light snack.
Chlorella and spirulina can both be bought in powder form and go very well in smoothies, which is a quick and easy way to ensure you’re getting all the omega 3 sources you need to keep your body healthy and strong.
List of Foods with Dha and EPA and Ala
Some other foods include
Chia seeds are a great way to get omega 3’s as they contain high amounts per serving and are also rich in protein and fiber, they blend great in smoothies and can be used to make the delicious and on-trend chia pudding as well as also work as an egg substitute in vegan baking.
Hemp seeds are also rich in omega 3’s as well as protein, magnesium, iron, and zinc and are great for heart health, digestion and skin. They are an excellent addition for topping salads, blended in smoothies, and added to homemade granola or granola bars.
Another seed rich in omega 3’s is flaxseeds, also containing many other nutrients such as fiber, magnesium, and protein they are great at lowering blood pressure and improving heart health. They are an easy diet addition and similar to chia seeds can be used as a vegan egg replacement.
Edamame beans are a type of soybean used a lot in Japan and are a great source of omega 3 and protein, they can be boiled or steamed and are a delicious side dish, snack, or salad topper.
Plants High in Omega 3
Additional Plants sources that contain high amounts of omega 3 include
Brussel sprouts are high in omega 3 and one of the only vegetables to be so, they can be enjoyed as a side dish and are best when oven roasted with a bit of oil.
Walnuts can be enjoyed as a snack on their own or used in baking or added to granolas, salads, yogurts, and energy bars.
A very well known and commonly used bean that can easily be incorporated into a vegan diet in things like curries and stews.
Soy ben oil can be used in cooking as an oil alternative and is also a great addition to salad dressings and sauces.
Vegan Alternative to Fish Oil
Another great sauce of omega 3’s comes from fish oil but this doesn’t align with vegan morals and dietary requirements however there is a vegan substitute for fish oil that can not only add valuable flavor to many Asian-inspired dishes but can also help you achieve your omega 3 intake goals. Plant-based fish oil stems from the same vegan food sources high in omega 3’s we’ve already discussed. These include flaxseed oil and chia seed oil which are both great sources of omega 3’s and can be used to cook or in your cooking, salad dressings, and sauces.
Other vegan substitutes for fish oil include a range of supplements
- NuTru- Try O-Mega-Zen3, a vegan-friendly and eco-friendly omega 3 supplement that is made using a specific formula derived from algal oil, high in omega 3’s with no use of fish at all.
- Flora- Try Udos oil 3-6-9 Blend, a plant-based supplement particularly focusing on omegas three, six, and nine will ensure that you are getting your required daily amount of omega 3 fatty acids with almost no effort at all.
- Garden of Life- Try Minami Algae Omega 3 Vegan DHA, this Is a great one as it is primarily focused on DHA which is extremely hard to consume directly when on a vegan diet, their company is also completely organic and slowly and cleverly designed for a great impact.
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