Vegan Omega 3

What is Omega-3 and why we need it?

Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for our health and our bodies cannot make them. We have to gain it with food. It is essential to have enough omega-3 fatty acids in the diet for our brain function, lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing the inflammatory response and for many other body functions. In simple terms, we need Omega 3 and most of us are not getting enough of it.

When we hear the phrase “Omega 3”, we usually think mainly about fatty fish (like mackerel, salmon, tuna, and sardines). Of course, these fishes are all good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but many people don’t eat fish. So, it was used to be a challenge to meet omega-3 fatty acid needs for vegetarians, vegans or those who just do not like fish.

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What is vegetarian Omega 3?

Today there are lots of vegetarian and vegan ways to get plant based omega-3s.

One of the 3 main types of omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is found in plant foods.

If we have a wide-ranging and rich plant-based diet, we should be receiving quite good sources of ALA naturally. Examples of such food are walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and other. However, eating comparable a lot of ALA rich food may not be enough.

Unfortunately, our bodies’ ability to convert ALA has limits. Only about 5% of ALA can be converted to EPA, and even less than 0.5% – to DHA (1). So, in order to meet our omega 3 needs, we need either to eat a large amount of food, rich in ALA or supplement EPA / DHA additionally.

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What vegan foods contain omega 3?

Most popular Vegan omega 3 sources, containing ALA are: Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Mustard Oil, Perilla Oil, Brussels Sprouts, Walnuts.

You can check their exact amount of ALA grams here.

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What about Vegan DHA?

There are sea vegetables, also known as seaweeds. They are algae that can be eaten and used in the preparation of food. Seaweed and microalgae are the only plant (vegan) sources of EPA and DHA (2).

There are many types of algae, different by its color: blue-green (chlorella, spirulina), green, brown, red yellow green, golden brown (not all of them can be produced for eating).

Algae forms for consuming might be: Capsule, Tablet, Powder or Algal oil.

Studies have proven (3) that algal oil is just as effective as the fatty acids found in cold-water fish. Its DHA content is roughly equivalent to that of salmon based fish oil.

There is also no risk of ocean-borne contaminants or toxins when consuming algal oil.
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How can Vegans get enough omega-3 fat?

Without strict diet plan, vegans and vegetarians usually have low omega-3 intakes. To sum up what is written above, please find below 3 most important tips for vegans:

  1. Eat food rich in ALA. Add 0.5 g of uncooked ALA to your diet every day. See this chart (column ALA) for the equivalent food. It is beneficial to eat chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground linseed, and walnuts. To meet these ALA recommendations, for example, we would need to eat about one tablespoon of ground linseed or chia seeds, six walnut halves or two tablespoons of hemp seeds every day.
  2. Take DHA/EPA supplements. Some health-related organizations suggest Omega-3 good fat (EPA & DHA) intake of 500 mg every day for adults. Most Vegans usualy consume very little of these fats from natural sources. It is recommended to a vegan diet adding supplements with EPA & DHA by using microalgae.  For children and pregnant or breastfeeding women it is particularly significant, because of the positive impact of omega-3 for brain function.
  3. Minimize Omega-6 Oils. Keep in mind your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, as a diet low in omega-3s but high in omega-6s can increase inflammation and possible risk of disease. We should not cook food with oils that are high in omega-6 such as sunflower, corn, soy, or sesame oil. Much better is low omega-6 oils, for example olive, canola, avocado or peanut.
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Where to buy vegan Omega 3 supplements?

In nowadays there are lots of options. You can check these recommended vegan supplements, filter by price, brand, store, compare some products and choose what‘s best for you. If you have your favorite vegan omega 3 supplement, you can set price alert (receive email when product is available in any store at your desired price).

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Nordic Naturals – Algae Omega, 650mg (120 capsules)

Nordic Naturals – Algae Omega, 650mg (120 capsules)

  • 100% vegetarian & suitable for vegans!
  • Pure, Safe, and Effective!
  • Made from one of very few algae oils with ...

    no comments 7 months ago
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