Delicious Ways To Increase Your Omega-3 Intake
Filling up on omega-3 fatty acids does a body good. These polyunsaturated fats, which play a crucial role in how your body’s cells function, have been shown to reduce harmful inflammation that could lead to heart disease, decrease triglyceride levels and blood pressure, and prevent fatal heart arrhythmia.
Your body can’t produce omega-3s, though, so you’ve got to be diligent about making sure your diet provides them. The good news is that fatty acids hide in tons of foods, like beans, nuts and seeds, certain veggies, grass-fed beef, and—as you probably know—seafood. Take a look at these favorite sources.
You should eat fish a couple times a week. The federal government’s latest dietary guidelines, released in early 2011, suggest a specific amount—8 ounces a week—to get an average total daily intake of 250 mg. of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two main types of omega-3 fatty acids. Here’s a look at some popular fish and shellfish and their approximate total content of those two fatty acids per 4-ounce portion:
Salmon (Atlantic, Chinook, Coho): 1,200-2,400 mg.
Anchovies: 2,300-2,400 mg.
Blue-fin tuna: 1,700 mg; yellow-fin tuna: 150-350; canned: 150-300 mg.
Sardines: 1,100-1,600 mg.
Trout: 1,000-1,100 mg.
- Mussels: 850-980 mg.
- Calamari: 730 mg.
Crab: 200-550 mg.
Cod: 200 mg.
Scallops: 200 mg.
Lobsters: 200 mg.
Talapia: 150 mg.
Shrimp: 100 mg.
Kidney, pinto, and mung beans will do you right, and there are numerous ways to prepare them.
Meat from grass-fed animals has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain- fed animals. Omega-3s are formed in the chloroplasts of green leaves and algae. Sixty percent of the fatty acids in grass are omega-3s. When cattle are taken off omega-3 rich grass and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on omega-3 poor grain, they begin losing their store of this beneficial fat. Each day that an animal spends in the feedlot, its supply of omega-3s is diminished.
Nuts and Seeds
Add a nutty flavor to salad, yogurt, or morning muesli with walnuts, pecans, pistachios, or macadamia nuts. A handful of any of these nuts also make a perfect high protein snack on the go and will up your omega-3 intake.
Spinach, serve up this leafy green in a salad, or saute it and add it to a whole-grain pasta dish.
Winter squash, this veggie makes an interesting side dish that boosts your omega-3 intake.
Broccoli and cauliflower, these cruciferous veggies are on your side when it comes to omega-3s.