Continuing our talk about common sense nutrition…
2. Omega-3 Fats Are Crucial and Most People Don’t Get Enough
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for proper functioning of the human body.
For example, DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid derived from animals, makes up about 40% of the polyunsaturated fats in the brain (13).
There are three main sources of Omega-3 fats… ALA (from plants mostly), DHA and EPA (from animals).
The plant form, ALA, needs to get transformed into DHA or EPA in order to function correctly in the human body.
There is some evidence that this conversion process is ineffective in humans (15).
Therefore, it is best to get Omega-3 fats from animal sources… including fish, grass-fed meat, Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs, or fish oil.
Bottom Line: A large part of the population is Omega-3 deficient. Avoiding a deficiency in these essential fatty acids can help prevent many diseases.
As a plant-based diet enthusiast, I don’t like that animal sources are so important for omega 3s, but dont forget this:
Here are some plant-based options to try:
- Flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are the richest source of ALA in our diets. By mixing 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil with food or by adding 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds to your morning yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal, you can get 57 percent of your daily value of ALA.
- Mixed greens. A salad of kale, spinach, and other dark leafy greens is another excellent choice. One cup gives you 56 percent of your daily value, so eat 2 cups to get over the hump.
- Canola oil. While not as potent as flaxseed oil, a tablespoon of canola oil gives you 11 percent of the amount of ALA you need on a daily basis. It’s best not to rely too heavily on it because like all oils, it is high in calories.
- Walnuts. A quarter-cup provides 14 percent of the ALA you need every day, along with other nutrients such as manganese. Again because of the calories, limit portions.
- Soybeans and tofu. A tablespoon of soybean oil, a cup of cooked soybeans, or a half-cup of tofu meets about 7 percent of your ALA needs for the day.
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