Plants for the Win for Omega-3 Fats!
Somehow, the recommendation to “eat less meat” has translated into a message to “focus on fish.” Touted for their omega-3 fats, fish has become considered the “healthy” meat. Yet, fish are among our greatest source for environmental contaminants including the heavy metals mercury, lead, and cadmium; industrial pollutants such as dioxins, PCB’s and DDT; and even likely radioactive molecules. Further, we are overfishing our oceans so much that experts believe the world’s stocks of seafood will run out by the year 2050! Fortunately, you don’t need to eat fish to attain omega-3 fats. Instead you can get them directly from where the fish do…from plants!
Here are 4 ways to optimize your intake of omega-3 fats:
1. Double the Institute of Medicine’s recommended adequate intake (AI) of ALA. ALA stands for “alpha-linolenic acid,” the form of omega-3 fats that converts to the longer chain versions our bodies also need, EPA and DHA. To ensure proper conversion in the body, women should aim for at least 2.2 grams per day and men should strive for 3.2 grams per day of ALA.
2. Savor seeds, soy, and walnuts. Consume about 2 tablespoons per day of chia seeds, flaxseeds, or hempseeds by throwing them into a smoothie, oatmeal, or salad. Whip up a chia pudding or use chia or flax to make a healthy egg substitute in baking. Soy foods such as edamame and soy milk also contain some omega-3 fats. A quarter cup of walnuts is about a day’s worth for women (men need a bit more). Here are some great recipes to try.
3. Favoritize fats. Opt for whole food fats over oils and highly processed foods to make sure you are balancing your fatty acids.
4. Opt for microalgae over fish oil supps. Fish oil supplements do not work to keep you healthy, as per these recent studies (here and here). If you are concerned about taking in adequate omega-3’s, you can take a vegan microalgae formula two to three times per week.
Why I Recommend Avoiding Fish
The Telegraph’s All seafood will run out in 2050, say scientists
NutritionFacts.org on Omega-3s
Vegan Outreach’s Omega-3 Fatty Acid Recommendations for Vegetarians
Comfortably Unaware’s Fish Facade
One example of a microalgae formula The Huffington Post’s Omega 3’s: 8 Veg Ways To Sneak More Into Your Diet One Green Planet’s 10 Healthy Vegan Omega 3-Rich Recipes