Omega 3 & The Plant-Based Diet
What You Need to Know
Omega 3 Fatty Acid is an essential fatty acid that our body needs but cannot synthesize, so we must get it from the foods we eat. It has important roles in cellular function, maintaining heart health, brain health, kidney function, eye health, and skin health.
While plant-based foods are high in ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid), they lack EPA and DHA, which is found in animal proteins such as fatty fish. The body's ability to convert ALA to EPA and DHA is limited, so this makes it even more important, if your on a plant-based diet, to eat ALA rich foods to meet your Omega-3 needs.
Fortunately, ALA is found in many plant foods including seaweed, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, soybeans (edamame, tofu), some beans such as kidney beans, walnuts, and seeds such as chia, flax, and hemp. It is also present in algal oil. Seed oils such as flaxseed, perilla, and canola oil are also high in ALA. In addition, there are now several brands of Omega 3 supplements available that are derived from marine algae (consult your doctor).
Bottom line with any healthy diet, it is important to understands nutritional values of foods, what your body needs to be healthy, plan, and DIVERSIFY your diet so that your body is getting essential nutrients from different types of foods.