We often hear about omega 3 fats, particularly in relation to salmon, and it being a healthy choice. Omega 3s aren’t just found in fish though, they are present in an array of plant foods as well. Read on to learn more about some great sources of plant-based omega 3, along with why they are important, and signs of potential deficiency!
So why is omega 3 important?
Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid. The three omega-3s found in food are ALA, EPA and DHA. Whilst your body is able to make certain fats, we actually lack the enzyme that allows us to make omega-3s ourselves. For this reason, they must be included in the diet for daily requirements to be met.
Omega 3s are important for helping improve heart and cardiovascular health, they assist with reducing inflammation, may help improve cognitive function and improve management or risk of development of mental health conditions. Further to these things, they may also help improve joint health and improve sleep as well, just to name a few things!
How much do we need each day?
In Australia, the recommended daily intake to reduce risk of chronic health conditions is 610mg for men, and 430mg for women, though only 160mg for men and 90mg for women is recommended as adequate intake. However, many people still don’t meet their daily needs, especially people following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Signs of deficiency?
Dry, rough, scaly skin is the most common visible sign of omega 3 deficiency. Brittle nails, dandruff and poor circulation are other common signs, especially if the person is suffering from fatigue, low mood and poor memory as well.
What are some easy to access plant sources of omega 3s?
- Chia seeds – 2.5g per tablespoon
- Flaxseeds – 1.5g per tablespoon
- Hemp seeds – 1g per tablespoon
- Walnuts – 650mg per tablespoon
There are so many health snacks containing omega-3 packed ingredients too. In this month’s Goodness Me Box, you’ll find Isowhey’s delicious new bliss balls. These bites of flavour are also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, due to chia seeds being a key ingredient.