Omega-3 Options and Your Health

Omega 3 and Living Healthy

Debbie J., MS, RD contributed this article -

Omega-3 fatty acids can improve your health, and though fish and fish oil supplements seem to be the most prevalent source of this nutrient, there are plenty of other options.

The benefits of Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are linked to lower risk for heart attack and stroke by reducing blocked vessels and inflammation. Blood cholesterol may also be lowered by omega-3 supplementation.

There are options other than fish for Omega-3!

If you like the idea of getting heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, but dislike the notion of seafood, other options are nuts, seeds and plant oils. Specifically walnuts, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds (and to a lesser extent pecan and hazelnuts) are the top plant sources.

But wait! There is more good news! By increasing your intake of nuts and seeds you’re also getting the powerful antioxidant Vitamin E, needed essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, and a little protein. What a great way to get your omega-3s without a fishy smell!

About a quarter of a cup of walnuts supplies over 2 grams of omega-3s (in the form of ALA) — nearly the same amount as 3-4 oz. of salmon! Walnuts are easy to incorporate into salads, grain dishes, cereals and baked goods. They also pair well with fruit and roasted winter squash.  Ground or pureed, they can be incorporated into Mediterranean-style dips and spreads.

Flax seeds can be found in brown or golden hues, but both contain the ALA omega-3 fatty acid.  Material* from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that the omega-3 of flax seeds is located in the seed, and unless you chew the seeds thoroughly flaxseed can be difficult to digest. To get the benefit of flax seeds it is best to grind them in a blender, a coffee grinder or a food processor. Then you can add the ground flaxseed to dough and batter, sprinkle on your cereal or pudding or add it to a smoothie.

Pre-ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal is also available; just keep it in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Flaxseed oil provides the healthy fat, but without the beneficial fiber found in the seeds.

Chia seeds aren’t just a source for sprouting Chia Pets, they are also an edible food that is packed with omega-3! The little black seeds, similar to poppy seeds, are primarily sold as supplements for omega-3s. These seeds may not have made it to your grocer’s aisles yet, so look for them at health food stores. Breads with added chia seeds are one of the many new food products to hit shelves. The seeds can be blended into salad dressings or pulpy smoothies and spooned into yogurt, soups and stews. They also have a tendency to gel, so try using them as a thickening agent for things like stir fry sauces or stew.

Like walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts are good nut sources of omega-3 fatty acid; they are easy to find at your local grocer and they store well, too. Try snacking on them by the handful or combine them in a trail mix with dried fruit. Crushed pecans are a great topping to oatmeal, and pureed hazelnuts make a nice alternative to peanut butter.

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Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.

* www.eatright.org  “The Facts on Flax” 1/13/2012

Be sure to come back for more inspiring REAL STORIES and helpful TOP TIPS every week. Simply CLICK HERE to learn how you can instantly receive each article as soon as they are published so you don’t miss a thing!

 

Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.

www.eatright.org  “The Facts on Flax” 1/13/2012

Posted on October 22, 2013, in Health, Helpful, LA Fitness, LA Fitness Blog - Living Healthy, LA Fitness Blog - Top Tips, Nutrition and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Flax seed in particular is probably the best source of Omega 3 I can think of. Great food supplement in general. Great article.

  1. Pingback: What are vegetarian things I can eat that contain a lot of protein? | LA Fitness | Official Blog | Living Healthy

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