Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids

By:Meenakshi Chaudhary, Onlymyhealth Editorial Team,Date:Aug 04, 2015

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Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the few fats that are considered healthy. Even though the most abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish, vegans can find it in plenty in plants too.
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    The good fat

    Not all fats are unhealthy. In fact, some are better than others. Yes, there are fats that are good for health (like omega-3 fatty acids) that play a key role in the formation of cell membrane. Omega-3 fatty acids not only control cholesterol levels but also maintain functioning of nervous system and prevent inflammation and several other diseases. Once omega-3 is inside the body, it gets converted into fatty acids–docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Although, fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, there are some amazing plant sources that can meet the good fat requirement in vegans. Here are some to get you started.

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    Flax seeds

    Flax seeds are one of  the best vegetarian sources of omega-3. About 28gm of flax seeds are loaded with 633mg of omega-3. Flax seeds are known to be effective in lowering cholesterol levels, stabilizing blood sugar, reducing bone loss, aiding weight loss, increasing immunity and preventing cancer. Since they are a good source of omega-3, they are best at fighting inflammation.

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    Chia seeds

    Chia seeds come from the mint family and are a great source of healthy omega-3 fats and lots of fibre. 28gm of chia seeds contain 4915mg of omega-3. They also contain calcium, manganese, phosphorous, iron and zinc. Studies have shown that these seeds can be used for treating type-2 diabetes due to their ability to slow digestion of carbohydrates. Consumption of chia seeds is good for digestive health, stronger teeth and bones.

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    Hemp seeds

    Hemp seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, protein and essential nutrients. These seeds reduce inflammation and heart diseases. Inclusion of hemp seeds in your diet may lower cholesterol and blood pressure. They are also rich sources of a number of essential minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. 28gm of hemp seeds will provide 1100 omega-3 fats.

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    Seaweed

    Seaweed is known to be a great source of the heart healthy fats. The seeds are loaded with a variety of health benefits such as good digestive health, low cholesterol effects and weight loss. Seaweed contains essential minerals and vitamins that you need for an optimum health.

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    Beans

    According to experts, one should consume up to 3 cupfuls of beans a week for better health. Although, beans do not contain as much omega-3 fats as other seeds or nuts, they can still help you meet the recommended dietary allowances. Urad dal is one of the best beans as one cup of urad dal contains 603mg of omega-3.

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    Cabbage family

    You will be amazed to know that cabbage contains a surprising amount of omega-3 fatty acids. One cup of cooked cauliflower contains 208mg of omega-3. You can also opt for broccoli and brussels sprouts as they are also good choices.

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    Berries

    Berries are not only good sources of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but they also are a good vegetarian source of omega-3. Amongst all, blueberries top the list with 174mg of omega-3 per cup serving. Image Source: Getty

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