When you are a vegetarian it doesn’t mean that you have to forgo some other nutrients that some “not vegan” foods can give. There will always be alternative which can render you the said benefits, in a vegan way.
The omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fats can help lower blood cholesterol, strengthen heart health, reduce depressive strains and boost cognitive health, has been mostly sourced from marine life such as oily fish, krill and calamari. These for some may deprive vegan fans of the said helpful fats but then there can be very healthy alternatives which can render the same outcome and benefits.
Omega-3 has three known fatty acids. The two ones are the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are the ones found in fish oil. Among the three, these two are the most beneficial though each may boast of certain condition to benefits. The other one is the ALA or the alpha-linolenic acid, the type of fatty acids found in plants which can be transformed into omega-3 later after ingestion.
Greater absorption may be given by fish oils but the ALA can be transformed into EPA and DHA with works done.
But then ALA may have some great benefits that most may overlook. It includes the cardiovascular benefits, the benefits on Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive problems. Due to its photochemical, these plant based fats can render more fiber, lesser saturated fat and few calories.
Vegan Omega-3 Sources
Due to its health benefits, more than 7 million Americans turned into vegetarian based diet while an estimate of 22.8 million people follow a strict vegetarian diet. Most of these people stick to vegan diets to improve their overall health. Some reasons include the idea of weight loss, makes it a natural approach to wellness, food safety concerns, maintain weight, and animal welfare.
And for that, their omega-3 alternatives include the following plant based sources.
- Flax seeds. Flax seeds, better if grounded, can be kept for a long time in a freezer. And it’s virtually tasteless. It can be included in cereals, oatmeal, smoothies. It certainly helps boosts omega-3. It can be substitute for less as well and good for vegan baking.
- Chia seeds. It can be taken as seeds or as grounded sprinkles. One can have it in their salads, smoothies or morning cereals. It has mild taste and can’t affect original flavors of foods. Chia has also the capacity to help you stay hydrated and regulate blood sugar.
- Hempseeds. Hemp seeds can be vegan and gluten feed. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and is high in protein and minerals. It can be sneaked into foods and meals through sprinkles.
- Perilla oil. Oil from perilla contains ALA which can turn into a substantial amount of omega-3 fatty acids later on.
- Cauliflower. It has been unpopular in terms of omega-3 (and has just been recognized for it recently) but it has been already known to be great for the heart. It also has been containing potassium, magnesium and even niacin.
- Hummus. Hummus is made from tahini and tahini is made of sesame seeds that is omega-3 packed. It has been known to be a healthy brain food but delicious as well.
Other sources include purslane, brussels sprout, mustard oil, seaweed and beans. Some pharmacy brands though offer vegan based omega-3 supplements.