Vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids


If you haven’t heard, omega-3s help keep your heart ticking hard and may also play key roles in brain and eye function. And they must come from foods or supplements in one of three forms:

  • Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA): A short-chain omega-3 fatty acid found in plant foods like flaxseed, walnuts, and tofu.
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA): A long-chain, marine-based omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fish such as salmon and trout, as well as certain types of algae.
  • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA): Another long-chain, marine-based omega-3 fatty acid that is also found in fatty fish and certain algae.

Many health organizations recommend that adults consume 800 to 1,100 milligrams of ALA-omega-3 fatty acids and 250 to 500 mg of EPA and DHA-omega-3 fatty acids daily. The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 Fatty Acids suggests the high end of this range to lower the risk of coronary artery disease.

Good news: even if you don’t eat oily fish, there are still vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids, like the plant-based and fortified foods here. Eat up.


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