Are you eating enough Omega-3?

By Krista Harris | 1 August 2022
3 Minute Read
By Cath Cookson – Fuel Coffeehouse + Kitchen

Omega-3 fatty acids have various benefits for your body and brain and a diet high in certain fish, seeds, and nuts can help you consume more omega-3s. 

The benefits are varied and whilst not an exhaustive list, Omega-3s are widely considered to help fight depression and anxiety; improve eye health; reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks; fight inflammation; help fight age-related mental decline; and may help prevent cancer. Yep – pretty important then… let’s read on!

It is generally recommended that healthy adults consume at least 250–500 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day. You can reach that amount by eating two servings of fatty fish per week, however if you aren’t a fish lover, there are also large amounts of omega-3 fats in algae and some high fat plant foods.

Here is Fuel’s checklist of omega-3 foods. How many are you including in your weekly menu plans?

Mackerel (4,580 mg per serving)

Mackerel are incredibly rich in nutrients — a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving also packs 500% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin B12 and 130% for selenium which is a powerful antioxidant.

They require very little preparation. Just add some salt and lemon before grilling and serve with a herby green, tomato and red onion salad. We love ours with some olive bread too. Delicious.

Salmon (2,150 mg per serving)

Salmon is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and contains high quality protein and a variety of nutrients, including large amounts of vitamin D, selenium, and B vitamins.

Cod liver oil (2,438 mg per serving)

Cod liver oil is more of a supplement than a food – as well as omega-3s, it’s also loaded with vitamins D and A, with a single tablespoon providing 170% and 453% of the Daily Value (DV), respectively.

If you can’t stomach fish, taking just 1 tablespoon more than satisfies your need for three incredibly important nutrients. However, don’t take more than 1 tablespoon at a time, as too much vitamin A can be harmful.

Sardines (1,463 mg per serving)

Sardines are highly nutritious, especially when eaten whole. They contain almost every nutrient your body needs.

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of drained sardines provides more than 370% of the DV for vitamin B12, 24% for vitamin D, and 96% for selenium.

And if you are a seafood lover with a healthy bank balance, oysters and caviar are also great sources of Omega-3.

Flaxseed (2,350 mg per serving)

These small brown or yellow seeds are often ground, milled, or pressed to extract oil. We use the ground version in our Daily Greens smoothies here at Fuel.

They are by far the richest whole food source of the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and are also a good source of fibre, magnesium, and other nutrients. A little goes a long way, so grab a bag next time you are at the supermarket and add a sprinkle to cereal, porridge, smoothies, salads or soups.

Chia seeds (5,050 mg per serving)

Chia seeds are incredibly nutritious and a 28g serving contains 5 grams of protein and bags of nutrients, including all eight essential amino acids. We know some of you aren’t keen on the consistency of them soaked (“frogspawn”) so why not just add a few to a smoothie or salad instead? Personally, we think you are crazy and love a chia pot with yoghurt, fruit, granola and honey though! And one chia pot gives you enough Omega-3s to last you the week. Job done.

Walnuts (2,570 mg per serving)

Walnuts are very nutritious and loaded with fibre. They also contain high amounts of copper, manganese and vitamin E, as well as important plant compounds. Try not to remove the skin, as it packs most of walnuts’ phenol antioxidants, which offer important health benefits.

The bottom line?

If you typically eat all or some of these foods regularly, you should easily meet your omega-3 needs. If they aren’t on your shopping list, think about adding them, consider supplements or pop into Fuel for an Omega-3 power surge!

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