15 Health benefits of Omega 3 + Ultimate Nutritional List
Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy. That is something that all health organizations and food experts fortunately agree. More and more food producers are responding to this and you see the slogan ‘omega 3’ on the packaging.
Many health claims are made about omega 3. But are all those claims true? I searched out which health claims have a proven scientific basis and share them here.
What you will discover in this article is:
- Why one omega 3 fatty acid is not the other
- Why you should pay attention to omega 6 (not why you think)
- Why fish is so important
- What are the health benefits of omega 3
- The top 30 – ultimate – omega 3 diet
The most important omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids is a collective name for a group of 11 different polyunsaturated fatty acids.
One of these fatty acids is by far the most important, namely alpha-linolenic acid.(ALA)
ALA is the most important because the other 10 omega 3 fatty acids, by the body, can be made from ALA if this can not be taken from the diet. We therefore call ALA an essential fatty acid; a fatty acid that can only be obtained via the diet.
EPA and DHA
Other important omega 3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, from EicosaPentaenoic Acid) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, from DocosaHexaenoic Acid).
It is these EPA and DHA fatty acids that are extremely important for our health.
Despite the fact that EPA and DHA can be made from ALA, we are always looking for foods with these fatty acids. This has to do with the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA. This is a process, in our body, which is difficult.
It is estimated that only 0.3% to 10% ALA can be converted to EPA. However, the conversion from ALA to DHA is even more dramatic; it is estimated that only 0.01% ALA can be converted to DHA (source).
EPA and DHA fatty acids are found in fish, shellfish and crustaceans and algae. ALA is found in certain plant foods.
In foods that contain EPA, there is always DHA and vice versa. That makes a difference with the composition of your diet.
ALA which can not be converted to EPA and DHA is used by the body as an energy source or stored as fat like other fats (with a calorie surplus).
EPA and DHA are active forms of omega 3 and are not used as energy but are used in important processes (such as fighting inflammation) in the body that serve our health.
Health benefits omega 3
The fact that omega 3 fatty acids are important for health is clear. The health benefits are almost too much to mention. But we are going to make an effort.
Health benefit # 1: reduces inflammation
In our body we always have low-grade inflammations that need to be spent. Nothing wrong with that as long as these inflammations do not become chronic.
Inflammation is a sign that damage to the body is being repaired. If a low-grade inflammation can not be restored, it will become chronic and cause health complaints.
Think of heart and vascular disease. Damage to heart and blood vessels can then no longer be adequately repaired.
It is therefore extremely important that these chronic inflammations are prevented and combatted as much as possible.
And there is where omega 3 comes in.
Various studies show that diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids reduces inflammation (source, source, source). This is because omega 3 fatty acids inhibit the production of substances that cause inflammation (source, source).
Health benefit # 2: reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
To assess whether you are at risk for cardiovascular disease, a doctor looks at a number of risk factors.
- Blood pressure
- Blood clots
- Artery calcification
- Ignition values
Omega 3 fatty acids improve these risk factors, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. This mainly concerns the DHA and EPA fatty acids that have this effect.
For example, omega 3 fatty acids cause a decrease of the triglycerides (fats) in the blood (source, source, source). This while simultaneously ensuring an increase in good HDL cholesterol (source, source, source).
Omega 3 also helps to prevent thrombosis because it stops blood clots (source, source). The omega 3 fatty acids keep the veins supple and free of damage which helps to prevent arterial calcification (source, source).
In people with high blood pressure, omega 3 can help to lower blood pressure (source, source). And as we have read under health benefit # 1 omega 3 reduces inflammation which is very important for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases (source,source, source).
Health benefit # 3: helps with depression and anxiety disorders
It is the EPA fatty acids that best help against depression. These fatty acids are in fish (source).
The extent to which EPA helps against depression is really impressive. It appears to be just as effective as Prozac (source).
However impressive this may be; Always seek help if you suffer from depression and do not try to solve it on your own with an omega 3 supplement, for example. For the treatment of depression, a multidisciplinary and structured approach is needed in several areas.
All in all, at least it can be said that omega 3 is good for mental health.
Health benefit # 4: good for the development of the brain
The fact that omega 3 is good for mental health is also apparent from the importance of omega 3 during pregnancy.
A pregnancy in which an omega 3 rich diet is followed has many advantages for the child. For example, the child will be more intelligent, less likely to have developmental retardation, learn better social skills, get fewer behavioral problems and have less chance of developing ADHD and autism (source, source, source).
Also after birth, omega 3 remains important for the development of the brain. Omega 3 is breastfeeding and you can now also buy bottle food to which it is added.
Omega 3 is also very useful for children who have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Studies show that omega 3 supplements reduce the symptoms of ADHD. The concentration and completion of tasks improved. The studies also showed that omega 3 reduced impulsivity, hyperactivity and aggression (source, source, source, source).
Health benefit # 5: good for the development of the eyes
Except for the development of the brain, omega 3 is important for the development of the eyes and thus the vision (source). For example, 60% of the retina of the eye consists of DHA fatty acids (source, source).
Health benefit # 6: reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Age plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease in addition to inflammation and oxidative stress.
The deterioration of brain function seems to be heard with aging.
Omega 3 therefore seems to be a good anti-aging agent.
Health benefit # 7: can prevent cancer
Studies show that diets high in omega 3 fatty acids reduce the risk of cancer. This mainly involves the following forms of cancer: colon, prostate and breast cancer.
It is always difficult to draw firm conclusions from such investigations. People who consume more omega 3 rich food generally eat more healthily. But since omega 3 is also proven to have strong inflammation properties, it is plausible that omega 3 fatty acids actually lower the risk of cancer.
Health benefit # 8: good for the skin
DHA is necessary for cell membranes and keeps them soft, supple and hydrated.
The EPA fatty acids are necessary for regulating the production of sebum with which it has a preventive effect against acne and the aging of the skin slows down.
Health benefit # 9: helps against osteoporosis
Osteoporosis (bone loss) is caused by a deficiency of calcium.
It is often thought that the drinking of milk prevents osteoporosis. But in countries where most milk occurs, it can be seen that bone decalcification occurs more often. You can read how that is in my critical dairy review.
What can prevent osteoporosis is calcium-rich food (vegetable), vitamin D and omega 3. The vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in the diet.
The nice thing is that fish except omega 3 also contains vitamin D. Vitamin D makes your body under the influence of sunlight. Because we do not get enough sunlight because of our climate or work, it is good to take vitamin D supplements.
Health benefit # 10: reduces the risk of asthma
Health benefit # 11: helps against rheumatoid arthritis
Chronic inflammation of the joints is the most important characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis.
Health benefit # 12: reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases
In an autoimmune disease, the immune system sees its own cells for hostile cells and attacks them.
The best-known example of autoimmune diseases is type 1 diabetes where the insulin-producing pancreas is attacked and insulin has to be injected to stay alive. Other known autoimmune diseases are celiac disease, Hashimoto’s disease, diabetes mellitus and Addison’s disease.
Studies show that it is important to get enough omega 3 fatty acids in the first year of life. There is a connection between a deficiency of omega 3 in the first year of life and the development of autoimmune diseases (source, source, source).
Omega 3 fatty acids are passed on to the baby via breastfeeding. For this it is important that the mother has included enough omega 3 fatty acids in her diet.
If you are switched to bottle-feeding, check whether it contains enough DHA fatty acids. A guideline for this is 20 mg DHA per day per kilogram of body weight of the baby.
Health benefit # 13: good for the metabolic syndrome
The metabolic syndrome is a name for a combination of common disorders. You can think of conditions such as high cholesterol, increased blood glucose, increased insulin resistance, overweight / obesity (belly fat), fatty liver and increased blood pressure.
For people with the metabolic syndrome it is beneficial to include enough omega 3 fatty acids in the diet. This reduces insulin resistance, inflammation and it improves the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as cholesterol and blood pressure (source, source, source).
In the metabolic syndrome is often also a non alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) in the game. Studies show that omega 3 supplements reduce the liver fat and inflammation in people with NAFLD (source, source).
In the metabolic syndrome, the risk of chronic diseases can best be reduced by losing weight to a healthy weight. The low-carbohydrate diet is ideally suited for this because it also reduces blood glucose and simultaneously improves insulin resistance.
Health benefit # 14: improvement of sleep
The DHA fatty acids seem to play an important role in this. For example, low DHA values are linked to a lower melatonin production (source). Melatonin is a hormone that is made by the pineal gland and is involved in the sleep-wake cycle.
Health benefit # 15: reduces menstrual pain
Studies show that women who eat the most omega 3 fatty acids have milder menstrual pains (source, source). I even found a study that showed that omega 3 better illumined the pain than the painkiller ibuprofen (source).
How much omega 3 do you need?
The Nutrition Center advises women 2 grams of ALA fatty acids per day and men 3 grams.
And they advise adult 200 mg EPA + DHA fatty acids per day. These kinds of advice focus on preventing shortages and not so much on an amount for optimal health.
What is more than the 200 mg advice from The Nutrition Center.
What is important to note here is that these are quantities for people who are in good health. In certain health conditions, the recommended amount is (much) higher than these values.
For example, the American Heart Association advises people with coronary artery disease to take at least 1000 mg of EPA and DHA fatty acids every day.
Safe upper limit
The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) sees 5,000 mg of EPA and DHA fatty acids as a safe upper limit.
It is also not necessary to take more than 5,000 mg of EPA and DHA fatty acids per day. Studies show that such high doses do not provide additional health benefits
Cod liver oil
If you use cod liver oil as a dietary supplement for EPA and DHA you will have to pay attention to the recommended amount. Cod liver oil contains a lot of vitamin A so the danger of vitamin A poisoning lurks.
If you eat a lot of Omega 3, your blood will become thin and stifling bleeding less well. Take this into account if, for example, you expect an operation. Are you on schedule for an operation stop than 2 weeks before the operation with omega 3 supplements.
Also, keep an eye on the ratio to omega 6
What is more important in determining your optimal amount of omega 3 fatty acids is the amount of omega 6 fatty acids that are included in your diet. A ratio of 1: 1 is optimal (source).
If you eat only a few omega 6 fatty acids, you can also finish with less omega 3 fatty acids. But if you eat a lot of omega 6 fatty acids then you will have to compensate for this with extra omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 6 fatty acids are mainly found in sunflower oil, soy oil, corn oil, kinds of margarine, low-fat kinds of margarine and baking and frying products. It is best to replace it with alternatives that contain less or no omega 6. For example, coconut oil can be used for baking and butter for the bread.
The top 30 ultimate Omega 3 sources
What are the ultimate sources of omega 3 fatty acids? We compiled this list with the best omega 3 sources on the basis of three criteria:
- EPA and DHA
- Ratio omega 3 and omega 6
- Other fatty acids and nutrients
I will briefly explain these criteria.
Criteria # 1: EPA and DHA
Foods with EPA and DHA fatty acids are superior compared to foods that only have ALA.
ALA is an essential fatty acid while EPA and DHA are not. This means that your body can make the active EPA and DHA from ALA.
Basically, you do not have to eat anything with EPA and DHA fatty acids in it, provided you eat a lot of ALA fatty acids. The problem, however, is that the body can not efficiently convert ALA into EPA and DHA.
For one daily dose of EPA/DHA you should eat 20 times as much ALA. These are a lot of fatty acids and therefore a lot of calories. It is, therefore, better to eat foods that already contain EPA and DHA. Your body then immediately has access to sufficient of these active forms of omega 3.
Criteria # 2: Ratio omega 3 and omega 6
Often, foods that contain omega 3 fatty acids are also rich in omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids are healthy in themselves, but not if you eat (much) more than omega 3. The ideal ratio between omega 6 and omega 3 is 1: 1 (source).
If we eat more omega 6 than omega 3, inflammation increases, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The problem is that with our Western diet we often eat more than 20 times as much omega 6 than omega 3! This is because in many foods vegetable oils are processed that are rich in omega 6.
Think of sunflower oil and rapeseed oil. These include kinds of margarine, bread, biscuits, pastries, ready meals and snacks.
Because we already get a lot of omega 6 unnoticed, the focus in your diet should be on omega 3 fatty acids. These occur in fewer food products and are (almost) never used as food ingredients by food producers. People prefer to use cheap sunflower oil which has a healthy image.
Criteria # 3: Other fatty acids and nutrients
What is also important are the other fatty acids and nutrients in the food. Are these unhealthy or good for health.
My favorite fish oil for omega 3 fatty acids
# 1: Algae oil supplements
Omega 3 oil supplements can be a valuable addition to a varied diet for many people. Only if you really eat fatty fish often do not need omega 3 supplements for optimal health.
Because fish is rather pricey and you (probably) do not feel like eating fish daily omega 3 supplements are the solution.
If you are going to search for omega 3 supplements then you will notice that there are three different types. These are:
- Algae oil capsules
- Krill oil capsules
- Fish oil capsules
Algae oil does not cause belching as some fish oil capsules can give.
Fish can not make EPA / DHA fatty acids themselves, they extract these fatty acids from the algae they eat.
So why should we get our EPA and DHA fatty acids therefore not directly from the source?
So an advantage of algae oil is that you save fish lives. For each box of fish oil capsules, relatively many fish are required; to fill 2 capsules you need 1 herring! If fishing continues at this rate, the seas will be completely empty in 2050.
The algae oil capsules are extremely rich in EPA and DHA fatty acids and they come in the best recordable form.
Another advantage is that the algae are (usually) grown in a controlled environment. This means that the algae oil is free from contamination. Something that can not always be said about fish due to the pollution of our seas and oceans.
Algae oil is also suitable for vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians.
# 2: Krill oil
Krill are small shrimp-like sea creatures from the plankton kingdom. They live around Antarctica where they are an important food source for whales and a few shark species.
Krill is rich in EPA and DHA fatty acids which, in turn, extract it from the algae it lives on.
Of krill oil, it is often said that the fatty acids are absorbed better than those from fish oil. The scientific evidence for this (or against) is not really convincing and often colored by suppliers of krill and fish oil.
For example, a study was held in which the participants received either a placebo, krill oil or fish oil (source). The participants with krill oil showed an improvement in blood sugars, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
The interesting thing about this research was that the krill oil participants received a lower dose than the fish oil participants. From this, it can be concluded that krill oil is easier to absorb than fish oil.
Because there is only one research that shows this, no firm conclusions can be drawn. More research will be needed to put an end to the krill oil versus fish oil debate.
In krill oil is an antioxidant (astaxanthin) that is not in fish oil. This antioxidant is said to prevent the krill oil from oxidizing (thereby maintaining its effect).
There is research that indicates that the antioxidant in krill oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is therefore good for heart and blood vessels (source).
Another study found an astaxanthin concentrate to improve cholesterol levels (source). However, the amount of astaxanthin given in this study is much higher than the amount of astaxanthin in krill oil.
It is certain in any case that no fish need to be caught for making krill oil. On the other hand, krill is an important food source for fish species such as whales that are removed to make these capsules.
# 3: Fish oil capsules
Fish oil capsules are, like the capsules mentioned above, extremely rich in EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids. The most important advantage of fish oil capsules is actually very simple: the price.
Fish oil capsules are really a lot cheaper than algae oil or krill oil capsules. Fish oil capsules usually cost only a fraction of algae oil or krill oil capsules.
If you compare between algae oil, krill oil and fish oil and the different brands pay attention, in any case, always to the amount of EPA and DHA containing the capsules. There can be big differences here.
The amount of EPA + DHA is always only a part of the total amount of fatty acids in the capsule.
# 4: Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil is also a dietary supplement. Cod liver oil is the oil from the liver of cod. You buy it in a bottle and dose it by drinking a tablespoon or a measuring cup.
Because cod liver oil is not considered as tasty, you can now also buy it in capsules.
Apart from cod liver oil a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, it is also widely used because of the vitamin D to which it is rich. In addition to vitamin D, cod liver oil is also extremely rich in vitamin A.
One tablespoon of cod liver oil gives you 888 mg of omega 3 fatty acids, 4500 IU of vitamin A and 450 IU of vitamin D.
Because cod liver oil is so extremely rich in vitamin A, you should not take too much of it, this is harmful to your health. Always keep the regulations on the packaging.
# 5: Herring
A herring with a fat percentage of at least 16%. In the spring the amount of plankton in the sea increases and the herring eats fat. In May, the fat percentage of the herring reaches 16% and then they can be caught.
The fat percentage of herring can be as high as 25%. This is not only good for the taste but is also beneficial for the amount of healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
Salted herring (as is usually eaten) contains a healthy dose of 2,720 mg omega 3 fatty acids per 100 grams.
# 6: Salmon
Salmon is really packed with nutrients. A US salmon is good for 2,610 mg omega 3 fatty acids and is also a good source of protein, B vitamins, selenium and magnesium.
# 7: Mackerel
Mackerel is a fatty fish species that are readily available because it is caught in the northeastern part of the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea.
It is usually sold smoked and sometimes it is also fresh and unprocessed for sale. In addition, you can buy canned mackerel. This can then be grilled or smoked mackerel.
Buy your mackerel in oil, then choose the best for mackerel in extra virgin olive oil and not in sunflower oil. That is healthier.
Smoking mackerel affects the omega 3 content:
- Smoked mackerel: 1.750 mg omega 3 per 100 grams
- Raw mackerel: 2.670 mg omega 3 per 100 grams
Mackerel is also a good source of high-quality protein and vitamin B12 (300% RDA per 100 grams).
# 8: Anchovies
Anchovies are small fish that are usually dried after which they are canned. Because the taste is so strong, you normally eat them in small quantities. So you can do them through the salad or use as a pizza topping.
This fat fish species is good for 2.110 mg omega 3 per 100 grams and is also a good source of vitamin B3 and selenium.
# 9: Sardines
They are family of the herring and are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Per 100 grams they are good for 1.390 mg omega 3 and 68% of the ADH vitamin D. You can also eat the sardines from a can.
# 10: Tuna
Tuna is not a fatty fish species but the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in this fish are certainly worth it.
All the more because it is also the popular EPA and DHA fatty acids in this species.
100 grams of tuna is good for 270 mg omega 3.
Tuna is also a good source of high-quality protein.
# 11: Fish
You have already seen a number of the fatty fish pass because they are particularly rich in EPA and DHA fatty acids. However, it is not only the fatty fish that contain these fatty acids.
It is also the semi-skimmed and lean fish species in which EPA and DHA are fatty acids, only in somewhat lower quantities. But because EPA and DHA fatty acids are so absorbable, these quantities are certainly worth the effort.
In the table below you will find the quantities of EPA and DHA of the different fish species:
|Omega 3 in fish|
|Fish species||Omega 3 in mg||EPA in mg||DHA in mg|
# 12: Caviar
This delicacy will not be on your menu every day, but you can eat them if you get the chance.
These unfertilized eggs of the sturgeon are not only tasty but also a great source of omega 3.
Now you will not easily eat us but to give you an idea: per 100 grams caviar contains 6.790 mg omega 3.
That is 3 times as much as salmon!
# 13: Oysters
Oysters are very healthy. This thanks to the omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to which it is rich.
100 grams (about 7 oysters) provide your body with 672 mg omega 3, zinc (600% RDA), vitamin B12 (300% RDA) and copper (200% RDA).
# 14: shellfish
Everything that comes from the sea is a source of EPA and DHA fatty acids. Shellfish and shellfish are no exception.
# 15: Chlorella
|Nutritional value shellfish|
|species||Omega 3 in mg||EPA in mg||DHA in mg|
Chlorella is an alga and it may therefore not surprise you that it contains omega 3 fatty acids. Chlorella is a freshwater algae and is one of the better superfoods thanks to the many health benefits, nutrients and detox properties.
The beauty of chlorella is that it contains not only ALA fatty acids but also the easily absorbable DHA and EPA.
How much omega 3 there is in chlorella is hard to say, this differs greatly per brand/supplier. Most chlorella contains between 2 and 10 grams of omega 3 per 100 grams.
# 16: Spirulina
Spirulina is also an alga, saltwater algae. Just like chlorella, superfood spirulina is rich in omega 3.
Per 100 grams, it contains 823 mg of omega 3 fatty acids that consist of ALA, EPA and DHA fatty acids.
Spirulina and chlorella are both suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Spirulina and chlorella are both in my top 5 favorite ultra healthy foods. In this video Dr. Bob McCauley tell you why:
Chlorella and Spirulina – Which One Should You Take
# 17: Linseed
Linseed is a superfood that is rich in healthy fatty acids and dietary fiber. These are good for blood pressure, cholesterol and they can support you in losing weight.
Per 100 grams there are 22.8 grams of omega 3 (ALA) in flaxseed. There are also omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids in flaxseed. Because there are many more omega 3 than omega 6 fatty acids in flaxseed, this is favorable for the relationship between these fatty acids.
The body will still have to convert the ALA fatty acids into the active DHA and EPA forms, which it can not do efficiently, leaving net many less usable fatty acids than the impressive 22.8 grams omega 3 per 100 grams suggests.
Do not eat too much linseed, this can cause problems with the fattening due to a large amount of fiber. If you have problems with the thyroid gland then you better not eat broken flaxseed.
Instead of linseed, you can also use linseed oil. This is the richest source of ALA fatty acids that you can think of. Per 100 grams this is good for a whopping 53.3 grams of ALA fatty acids. All vitamins and minerals have been lost during the pressing of this oil.
# 18: Hemp seed
Another superfood that does well what is better healthy fatty acids is hemp seed.
In addition to its fatty acids, hemp seed is also eaten because of its fibers and essential and easily absorbable amino acids.
Hemp seeds contain 21 grams of ALA fatty acid per 100 grams.
Hemp seed is also rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This is converted into prostaglandins 1 and 3 in the body, which acts as an anti-inflammatory and has a blood pressure lowering effect and has vasodilating effects. The production of cholesterol is also inhibited (source).
# 19: Chia seed
Chia seed is a superfood with many health benefits. Chia seed, for example, is good for digestion, reduces blood pressure and is a good source of antioxidants.
Chia seed owes its superfood status in part to the omega 3 fatty acids it is rich in.
Per 100 grams, it contains no less than 17.5 grams of omega 3, which is much more than for example the fatty fish. The big difference is that the omega 3 fatty acids of chia seed consist of alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), the form of omega 3 that the body will first have to convert to EPA and DHA. Something that the body can not do as efficiently.
For example, these two studies showed that eating chia seeds did not result in an increase in DHA fatty acids in the bloodstream (source, source). As far as I am concerned, chia seed is wrongly labeled as a superfood.
# 20: Perilla oil
The perilla frutescens is an annual plant from the mint family. This oil is made by pressing the perilla seeds and is widely used in Korean cuisine. Perilla is also known as Chinese melissa or wild sesame.
Except that you, thanks to her special taste, can be very culinary with this oil, it also appears to be extremely rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
You can use this oil to bake in, but ideally, you use this oil in, for example, the salad. By not heating the oil you prevent the fatty acids from oxidizing and losing their healthy properties.
This oil consists for about n 64% of ALA fatty acids. In the long term, perilla oil increases the EPA and DHA values in the bloodstream (source).
Perilla oil will not be found in the normal supermarket very quickly, but there are plenty of places available online where you can order this oil.
Perilla oil BUY IT HERE!
# 21: Certain vegetable oils
Some vegetable oils contain omega 3 fatty acids. These are they:
- Linseed oil; 53 grams per 100 grams
- Hemp oil; 19 grams per 100 grams
- Walnut oil; 13 grams per 100 grams
- Rapeseed oil; 9 grams per 100 grams
- Wheat germ oil; 8 grams per 100 grams
- Soya oil; 8 grams per 100 grams
- Olive oil; 0.9 grams per 100 grams
The omega 3 fatty acids in vegetable oils are always hard to absorb ALA fatty acids.
Rapeseed oil is usually obtained from rapeseed through a controversial chemical process, so the question is whether this oil is healthy.
Many people use sunflower oil for baking and deep-frying. This oil, like many vegetable oils, has a healthy image. Sunflower oil contains many unsaturated fatty acids and healthy omega 6 fatty acids.
However, sunflower oil does not contain omega 3 fatty acids. And omega 6 fatty acids are only healthy if there is a healthy relationship with omega 3 fatty acids.
Because in many foods omega 6 fatty acids are used, this ratio is not good in our Western diet. Omega 6 then works correctly stimulating inflammation. By using sunflower oil this ratio only gets worse and you saddle your body with an overdose of omega 6 fatty acids.
You can, therefore, better use coconut oil for baking, roasting and deep-frying. And for cold use, such as in salads, you better use olive oil. More about this in the video below:
What Is The Best Oil For Deep-Frying?
# 22: Walnuts
Whether it is coincidence or not, nature seems to us with the shape of walnuts, curves and wrinkles, wanting to reveal that these are good for the brain. They are the omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants in walnuts that are so good for the functioning of our brain (source, source, source, source, source).
Per 100 grams walnuts are good for 9 grams of omega 3 (ALA) fatty acids and are also a good source of dietary fibers and proteins. Because walnuts are so rich in fatty acids they are also very high in calories, keep this in mind if you have to pay attention to the line.
Although nuts are often said to be rich in omega 3, it is really only the walnuts that jump above it. Other nutty species that have a fairly high omega 3 are pecans (986 mg / 100 grams) and macadamia nuts (206 mg / 100 grams).
Almonds contain no omega 3 fatty acids and cashew nuts at all. This does not make almonds unhealthy or so. As a rule, all nuts are good for your health. You do not need them for your omega 3 fatty acids.
Cashew nuts are also rich in omega 6 fatty acids, which means they have an unfavorable ratio of these fatty acids; 7782 mg omega 6 versus 62 mg omega 3 with a ratio of 125: 1 while ideally 1: 1.
Peanuts are not nuts but legumes. These also contain omega 3 but also a lot of omega 6. With peanuts, the ratio between omega 6 and omega 3 is about 25: 1.
That’s why you eat the best walnuts for your omega 3. And also eat them unroasted. By heating nuts, the healthy fatty acids oxidize and their beneficial effect on your health is lost.
# 23: Wild rice
Wild rice is not actually a real type of rice. It is a grass seed that can be prepared and used in the same way.
The nice thing about wild rice is that it is healthy, gluten-free and rich in omega 3.
100 grams of wild rice contains 240 mg of omega 3 fatty acids. These are ALA fatty acids.
Wild rice also contains all essential amino acids; 6.5 grams per 100 grams.
# 24: Soybeans
Because soybeans are a good source of vegetable protein, they are regularly on the menu with many vegetarians and vegans. They are also a fairly good source of omega 3 fatty acids (ALA): 1,443 mg per 100 grams.
Unfortunately, soybeans are also rich in omega 6 (10.5 grams per 100 grams) which is not favorable for an optimal ratio between omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
# 25: Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the oil obtained from the first pressing. This not only tastes better, but it is also much healthier than refined olive oil because this oil is rich in antioxidants.
And it is these antioxidants that make extra virgin olive oil so special and healthy.
Olive oil contains little omega 3 oil. Only 0.76% is ALA. The majority (73%) is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid
Despite her low omega 3 content, I found (extra virgin) olive oil worth mentioning. This is because it is often labeled as the healthiest oil for use in the kitchen.
Olive oil is so healthy because it offers protection against cardiovascular diseases. These diseases are less common in countries around the Mediterranean Sea where a lot of olive oil is used (source).
Olive oil offers protection against cardiovascular diseases (source) in various ways. Inflammation is reduced, LDL cholesterol is reduced, blood clotting is prevented and blood pressure decreases (source, source, source, source).
# 26: Eggs
Eggs are not only rich in high-quality proteins. They are also rich in vitamins A, E, K, B1, B2, B5, B6, folic acid and B12. And they contain the following minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
The protein is mainly in the white part of the egg while the fats are mainly in the yolk. In this yolk are also omega 3 fatty acids: 165 mg per 100 grams. This corresponds to about 75 mg for a large egg.
The amount of omega 3 fatty acids in an egg depends on the food that the chickens have eaten.
Chickens that have mainly eaten green feed and seeds give eggs with the highest amounts of omega 3. These eggs are easy to recognize in the supermarket because of the suppliers proudly and with large letters ‘Omega 3’ on the package.
Eggs are also rich in cholesterol. However, this hardly affects cholesterol in the bloodstream and the fear of eating eggs is therefore unjustified. In this article, you can read how that is.
# 27: Avocado
Avocados are also known for their omega 3 fatty acids. Now, this is the case with omega 3 fatty acids. They contain 110 mg ALA per 100 grams.
Avocados are rich in fatty acids; 30 grams per 100 grams and have an unfavorable relationship between omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Nevertheless, avocados are indeed good for health.
This type of fruit contains all macronutrients and very many micronutrients.
You can read more about it in my article 7 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado.
# 28: Grass butter
Grass butter is cream butter made from milk from the period that cows walk in the meadow and eat grass.
As a result, the milk, and with it the butter, contains more omega 3 fatty acids.
Grass butter contains about 315 mg of omega 3 per 100 grams.
Omega 3 is added to some brands of margarine. Still, grass butter has my preference over margarine.
For example, margarine is a heavily refined product which is high in omega 6 fatty acids.
# 29: Red meat
Red meat, such as beef and mutton, contain a good deal of omega 3 fatty acids; provided that these animals have been able to walk around in the meadow and have been able to eat grass.
The amount of omega 3 in beef is 40 mg per 100 grams. If the cattle has eaten grass, this increases to 80 mg.
The fatty acids in red meat are ALA fatty acids and not the DHA and EPA fatty acids as in fish.
Red meat is also an extremely good source of heme iron (the easily absorbed form of iron) and can, therefore, make an important contribution to the prevention of anemia.
# 30: Vegetables
It is mainly the green leafy vegetables that contain omega 3 fatty acids.
The fatty acids in vegetables only concern the less absorbable ALA and the quantities are not really to write home about.
Below a few vegetables that stand out with ALA fatty acids:
- Brussels sprouts; 173 mg per 100 grams
- Green cabbage; 103 mg per 100 grams
- Spinach; 92 mg per 100 grams
- Watercress; 23 mg per 100 grams
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