What are Some Great Omega 3 Sources?
When it comes to fat in the diet, the typical American eats way too many saturated and trans fats… while lacking in healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
The average person eats a total of 26 grams of saturated fat per day, while the recommendation is around 10-15 grams or less.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats provide energy, and a healthy amount of these fats has been shown to prevent and reduce the risk of depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, memory loss, dementia, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Healthy, balanced diets with healthy fats also help with arthritis, joint pain, skin conditions, and healthy pregnancies.
Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The amount recommended for each of these varies, but on average, you should aim for 12 grams a day of omega-3 fatty acids and 10-20 grams a day of omega-6 fatty acids.
Sources of healthy omega-3 fats include:
- Fish (salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines)
There are different varieties of omega-3 fats, and they’re classified based on their simplicity. The simplest is alphalinolenic acid (ALA), which is found in many plant and animal foods, especially flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts, and eggs. ALA can also be transformed into other omega3s if you don’t get enough of it from your diet.
Getting enough of and a good variety of omega-3 fatty acids will improve your overall health and body functions and decrease your risk for disease. The other omega3s are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
EPA and DHA are both found in:
The amount of EPA and DHA in the foods listed above depends on a variety of factors, but some studies show that products derived from grassfed animals have higher amounts of EPA and DHA.
Current recommendations say to have fish two times per week to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. However, incorporating other omega-3 providing foods throughout your day will improve your health even further.
Walnut and Spinach Pesto Over Salmon
For the Pesto:
- 1⁄4 cup walnuts
- 3 cups spinach leaves
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and pulse until a thick paste is formed. Then, add in the olive oil and pulse until smooth!
*I had to add the spinach about 1 cup at a time for it to fit!
For the Salmon:
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 salmon fillets
Season the salmon fillets with pepper, as desired. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil (or use spray olive oil). Add the salmon fillets, skin side up, and cook for about 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat, serve on a bed of cooked spinach, and top with pesto!
This article was about Omega 3 fatty acids, but if you would like a full overview on fats check out 3 Types of Fat – A Saturated, Trans Fat and Unsaturated Fatty Acids Guide.