Some of the essential fatty acids are produced by our body itself. While we get some other fatty acids only from our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are one such fatty acids that you must get from your diet. They are very essential for the better functioning of your body and brain.
However, those who follow the western diet, do not get an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids required for the body.
Health Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are several health benefits for omega-3 fatty acids.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the 3 main omega-3 fatty acids, is a structural component of your retina and if you do not get enough DHA, it causes vision problems. Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of eye damage and improve eye health.
Several studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids to numerous heart benefits. They will help in reducing the risk of several cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids even help in reducing inflammation and helps in managing several inflammatory disorders.
Here are some of the best plant-based foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Brussel sprouts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and they are also high in several other essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Since this particular cruciferous vegetable is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, they offer a lot of health benefits. A recent study showed that consuming more Brussels sprouts could reduce the risk of heart disease by 16%.
About 44 mg of alpha-linolenic acid is present in just half a cup of raw Brussels sprouts. However, the omega-3 fatty acids in Brussels sprouts will increase almost 3 times when it is cooked. Half a cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 135 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Brussels sprouts will make a delicious and healthy accompaniment to your plant-based diet when they are steamed, roasted, stir-fried, or blanched.
Even though the hemp plant is a member of the cannabis family, it won’t create any intoxicating effects like the marijuana plant. The seeds of the hemp plant are packed with several healthy nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, etc. Animal studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids present in hemp seeds are beneficial for heart health.
About 6000 mg of alpha-linolenic acid is present in about one ounce of hemp seeds. You can add hemp seeds in your smoothies or yogurt as the easiest way to include hemp seeds in your plant-based diet. You can also use hemp seed oil as the easiest way to consume omega-3 fatty acids.
Flaxseeds are packed with several healthy nutrients like protein, magnesium, fiber, manganese, etc. They are also high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Several studies have shown that both flaxseeds and flaxseed oil have been shown to reduce the levels of cholesterol in the body.
Another study has shown that flaxseeds can lower blood pressure significantly and help people with high blood pressure. About 6,388 mg of alpha-linolenic acid is present in one ounce of flaxseeds. Many people use flaxseeds as a staple ingredient in baking.
Chia seeds provide a good amount of healthy protein and fiber in each serving. They are also rich in alpha-linolenic acid, one of the three main omega-3 fatty acids. Several studies have found that consuming chia seeds is the best way to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
An animal study conducted in the year 2007 revealed that eating chia seeds will decrease the number of blood triglycerides and increase the levels of HDL cholesterol in the blood. Just one ounce of chia seeds contains 4,915 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
As the name suggests, algal oil is derived from algae and it is one of the best vegan sources of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Studies have revealed that the nutritional availability of algal oil is similar to that of seafood.
A recent study conducted on mice showed that supplementing docosahexaenoic acid algal oil compound helped in improving their memory. Even though there are no human studies to prove the similar effects on humans, scientists believe that these omega-3 fatty acids can be very effective in improving the brain function of humans.
Walnuts are a great source of alpha-linolenic acid and healthy fats. Their rich omega-3 fatty acids content is very helpful in improving brain health and studies have found that eating walnuts will improve your memory and learning skills.
A recent animal study revealed that consuming walnuts daily will significantly improve the learning, memory, and motor development in mice. The study also showed that eating walnuts could help in alleviating the anxiety associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Just one ounce of walnuts contains 2,542 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, which is more than your daily requirement.