Vegan omega 3 sources

Vegan omega-3 food sources and supplements

Have you recently gone vegan and are wondering if there’s enough Omega 3 in your new diet? Or maybe you’ve been vegan for a while and want to see what other sources of Omega 3 there are?

It’s good to hear you’re thinking this way, as Omega 3 is an essential fat that our body doesn’t make itself, but helps keep our immune system, brain, nerves and eyes functioning and healthy.1

There are three types of Omega 3 fats

  1. Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)
  2. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  3. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

 ALA – is mainly found in vegetable oils, seeds and nuts.

EPA and DHA - is made from the ALA we consume and oily fish, such as mackerel and salmon.Meanwhile, EPA and DHA are the most useful forms of Omega 3 and are found in algae, as well as fatty fish.

How much Omega 3 do we need?

Generally speaking, the recommended daily allowance of EPA and DHA for adults is 250 to 500mg. For ALA, it’s 1.6g for women and 1.1g for men.3 However, research has shown that vegans and vegetarians are more prone to having lower levels of EPA and DHA in their bodies compared to meat eaters. Vegans tend to have an Omega 3 ratio of 10:1 to 15:1, compared to a ratio of 6:1 to 10:1 for omnivores.4

Vegan Omega 3 sources – food

Lots of seeds and nuts are rich in Omega 3. There are also a few other Omega 3-rich vegan foods, which we’ve listed below:

  • Brussel sprouts - 44g of raw sprouts contains 44mg of ALA. Once cooked, the Omega 3 level triples; providing 135mg of Omega 3 for every 135mg serving.5

  • Chia seeds – 28g of chia seeds can provide 4,915mg of Omega 3. Create a chia pudding or sprinkle chia seeds on top of salads, yoghurt and smoothies.6

  • Edamame beans – a half cup of frozen edamame beans contains 0.28g of ALA. Boil or steam them and enjoy them on salads or as a side dish.7

  • Hemp seeds – 28g of these seeds contains around 6,000mg of ALA. Like chia seeds, you can sprinkle them on top of your dishes or add them to homemade cereal snack bars.8

  • Walnuts – a 28g serving of walnuts can provide 2,542mg of Omega 3 fatty acids.9

  • Flaxseeds – there’s 6,388mg of ALA for every 28g serving of flaxseeds. Sprinkle them on your cereal, soups or salads.10

  • Seaweed and algae - seaweed and algae (spirulina and chlorella) are important sources of Omega-3 for vegans, as they’re one of the few plant groups that contain both DHA and EPA.11

  • Kidney beans – there’s 0.10g of ALA in every half cup of kidney beans. Add them to curries and stews or eat them as a side dish.12

Vegan Omega 3 supplements

 Sometimes, it’s possible for vegan diets to be lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, Omega 3 (ALA and DHA) included. If you find that you are below the daily recommended intake, then you may want to consider supplementing with these oils:

There are plenty of vegan Omega 3 sources, and the more you look, the more you’ll find. Hopefully the food sources and supplements we’ve listed above will get your vegan Omega 3 journey off to the best start or make sure your journey continues to be as Omega 3 enriched as possible.

For more on the importance of Omega 3 read, ‘5 surprising reasons you need Omega 3.

Last updated: 19 August 2020

Sources
  1. https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/nutrients/omega-3-and-omega-6-fats#:~:text=How%20can%20vegans%20get%20enough,as%20your%20main%20cooking%20oil.
  2. https://www.heartuk.org.uk/low-cholesterol-foods/omega-3-fats
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-omega-3#general-guidelines
  4. https://veganhealth.org/omega-3s-part-1/#daily-needs
  5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-plant-sources-of-omega-3s#section2
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-plant-sources-of-omega-3s#section1
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323144#vegetarian-and-vegan-sources-of-omega-3
  8. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-plant-sources-of-omega-3s#section4
  9. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-plant-sources-of-omega-3s#section5
  10. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-plant-sources-of-omega-3s#section6
  11. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323144#vegetarian-and-vegan-sources-of-omega-3
  12. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323144#vegetarian-and-vegan-sources-of-omega-3
  13. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1565/algal-oil#:~:text=Algal%20oil%20is%20an%20oil,foods%20and%20as%20a%20medicine.
  14. https://www.hochdorf.com/uploads/media/AS_Sesam_Oil_EN_Taste_Award.pdf
  15. https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/your-omega-3-family-shopping-list#1
  16. https://www.wellandgood.com/ahiflower-oil/
  17. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sea-buckthorn-oil
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