Omega-3 fatty acids have several benefits for your body and your brain.
Many established health organizations recommend at least 250–500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day for healthy adults (1, 2, 3).
You can get large amounts of omega-3 fats from oily fish, seaweed, and several high-fat plant foods.
Here is a list of 12 foods that are very high in omega-3s.
Mackerel are small, fat fish.
In western countries they are often smoked and eaten whole fillets.
Mackerel is incredibly rich in nutrients – one 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving contains 200% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin B12 and 100% for selenium (4).
In addition, these fish are delicious and require little preparation.
Omega-3 content: 4,107 mg in a piece of salted mackerel or 5,134 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) (4)
Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods in the world.
It contains high quality protein and a wide variety of nutrients, including large amounts of vitamin D, selenium, and B vitamins (5, 6).
Studies show that people who regularly eat oily fish like salmon have a lower risk of diseases like heart disease, dementia, and depression (7, 8, 9, 10).
Omega-3 content: 4,123 mg in half a fillet of cooked farmed Atlantic salmon or 2,260 mg in 100 grams 3.5 ounces (5)
Cod liver oil is more of a dietary supplement than a food.
As the name suggests, it is oil extracted from the liver of cod.
In addition to being high in omega-3 fatty acids, this oil is also high in vitamins D and A, with a single tablespoon providing 170% and 453% of the RDIs, respectively (11).
Hence, consuming just one tablespoon of cod liver oil more than meets your needs for three incredibly important nutrients.
However, don’t take more than a tablespoon at a time as too much vitamin A can be harmful.
Omega-3 content: 2,682 mg per tablespoon (11)
Herring is a medium-sized, oily fish. It is often cold smoked, pickled, or pre-cooked and then canned as a snack.
Smoked herring is a popular breakfast food in places like England, where it’s served with eggs and known as kippers.
A standard smoked fillet contains almost 100% of the RDI for vitamin D and selenium and 221% of the RDI for vitamin B12 (12).
Omega-3 content: 946 mg per medium fillet (40 grams) of tipped Atlantic herring or 2,366 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) (12)
Shellfish are among the most nutritious foods you can eat.
In fact, oysters contain more zinc than any other food on the planet. Only 6 raw Eastern oysters (3 ounces or 85 grams) contain 293% of the RDI for zinc, 70% for copper, and 575% for vitamin B12 (13, 14).
Oysters can be eaten as a starter, snack or whole meal. Raw oysters are a delicacy in many countries.
Omega-3 content: 370 mg in 6 raw Eastern oysters, or 435 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) (13)
Sardines are very small, oily fish that are often eaten as a starter, snack, or delicacy.
They are very nutritious, especially when eaten whole. They contain almost all of the nutrients your body needs.
3.5 ounces (100 grams) of drained sardines provides over 200% of the RDI for vitamin B12, 24% for vitamin D, and 96% for selenium (15).
Omega-3 content: 2,205 mg per cup (149 grams) canned Atlantic sardines or 1,480 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) (15)
Anchovies are tiny, oily fish that are often bought dried or canned.
Anchovies are usually eaten in very small portions and can be rolled around capers, stuffed in olives, or used as a topping for pizza and salad.
Because of their strong taste, they are also used to flavor many dishes and sauces, including Worcestershire sauce, tartar sauce, and Caesar dressing.
Anchovies are a great source of niacin and selenium, and bone-in anchovies are a decent source of calcium (16).
Omega-3 content: 951 mg per can (2 ounces or 45 grams) of canned European anchovies or 2,113 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) (16)
Caviar is made from fish eggs or roe.
Widely regarded as a luxury food, caviar is most commonly used in small quantities as a starter, tasting, or garnish.
Caviar is a good source of choline and a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (17).
Omega-3 content: 1,086 mg per tablespoon (14.3 grams) or 6,786 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) (17)
Flax seeds are small brown or yellow seeds. They are often ground, ground, or used to make oil.
These seeds are by far the richest whole source of the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Therefore, flaxseed oil is often used as an omega-3 supplement.
Flax seeds are also a great source of fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients. They have a great omega-6 to omega-3 ratio compared to most oily plant seeds (18, 19, 20, 21).
Omega-3 content: 2,350 mg per tablespoon (10.3 grams) of whole seeds or 7,260 mg per tablespoon (13.6 grams) of oil (18, 19)
Chia seeds are incredibly nutritious – they’re high in manganese, selenium, magnesium, and several other nutrients (22).
A standard 1 ounce (28 gram) serving of chia seeds contains 5 grams of protein, including all eight essential amino acids.
Omega-3 content: 5,060 mg per ounce (28 grams) (22)
Walnuts are very nutritious and high in fiber. They also contain high amounts of copper, manganese, vitamin E and important plant substances (23).
Be careful not to remove the skin as it contains most of the phenolic antioxidants found in walnuts, which provide important health benefits.
Omega-3 content: 2,570 mg per ounce (28 grams) or about 14 walnut halves (23)
Soybeans are a good source of fiber and vegetable protein.
They’re also a great source of other nutrients, including riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium (24).
However, soybeans are also very rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Researchers have hypothesized that consuming too much omega-6 can lead to inflammation (25).
Omega-3 content: 670 mg in a 1/2 cup (47 grams) dry roasted soybeans or 1,443 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) (24)
Remember, Sections 1-8 cover foods that contain the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, which are found in some animal foods, seafood, and seaweed.
Conversely, Sections 9-12 deal with foods that provide the omega-3 fat ALA, which is inferior to the other two.
While not as high in omega-3s as the foods listed above, many other foods contain decent amounts.
These include pasture eggs, omega-3 fortified eggs, meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals, hemp seeds, and vegetables like spinach, Brussels sprouts, and purslane.
As you can see, getting plenty of omega-3s from whole foods is relatively easy.
Omega-3 fatty acids offer numerous health benefits, such as: B. the fight against inflammation and heart disease.
However, if you don’t eat a lot of these foods and think you are missing omega-3 fatty acids, then you should consider omega-3 supplements.