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Natural Sources of Omega 3

by
author image Amy Furay
Amy Furay has been writing since 1991. Her work has been published in scientific journals including "Alcohol" and "Endocrinology." Furay holds a Bachelor of Arts in biopsychology and cognitive science from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Cincinnati.
Natural Sources of Omega 3
A bowl of fresh spinach. Photo Credit Dušan Zidar/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized by your body, so they have to be obtained through your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid, are essential polyunsaturated fats that may have several health benefits. Your body converts alpha-linolenic acid into docosahexaenoic acid, known as DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid, known as EPA. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, Omega-3 fatty acids decrease cardiovascular disease outcomes such as cardiac death and myocardial infarction, lower triglycerides and reduce joint tenderness in rheumatoid arthritis. Natural omega-3 fatty acids can be found in several foods.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Natural Sources of Omega 3
A bowl of fresh spinach. Photo Credit Dušan Zidar/iStock/Getty Images

Certain types of leafy green vegetables have modest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. A 1/2 cup serving of fresh cooked spinach has 100 milligrams of omega-3. The same cooked serving size of kale, collard greens and dandelion greens also contain 100 milligrams of omega-3, according to Tufts University School of Medicine.

Eggs

Natural Sources of Omega 3
A carton of fresh eggs. Photo Credit Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

A standard supermarket medium-sized egg, weighing approximately 50 grams, has 4 milligrams of EPA and 36 milligrams of DHA. It is possible to increase the omega-3 fatty acid levels in eggs by feeding chickens diets that are high in omega-3 nutrients such as flaxseed oil. For example, in one medium egg serving, Farm Pride Omega-3 Eggs have 270 milligrams of DHA, Organic DHA Omega-3 eggs have 150 milligrams of DHA and GoldEgg - Omega Choice had 260 milligrams of DHA. Read the nutrition information on the carton carefully to determine the serving size that was used to calculate omega-3 content because some brands advertise the amount that is in two eggs instead of one.

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Fish

Natural Sources of Omega 3
Grilled salmon with vegetables. Photo Credit Robyn Mackenzie/iStock/Getty Images

A good source of omega-3 fatty acids is salmon, which is widely available, and comes in both fresh wild and farmed, as well as in the can. A 3 1/2 ounce serving of Atlantic farmed has 862 milligrams of EPA and 1,104 milligrams of DHA, while Atlantic wild salmon has 321 milligrams of EPA and 1,115 milligrams of DHA. Canned sockeye salmon, drained but including both solids and bones, has 561 milligrams of EHA and 884 milligrams of DHA. Fresh bluefin tuna is also a good source, with 283 milligrams of EHA and 890mg of DHA.

Vegetable Oils

Natural Sources of Omega 3
A close-up of flaxseeds. Photo Credit anakondasp/iStock/Getty Images

Some vegetable oils are rich in alpha-linolenic acids. Of all the vegetable oils, flaxseed oil has the highest concentration, with 53,300 milligrams per 100 grams of oil. Soybean oil has 6,789 milligrams and canola oil contains 9,137 milligrams of alpha-linolenic acid.

Nuts

Natural Sources of Omega 3
Walnuts in the shell. Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Certain nuts contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. For example, a 1-ounce serving of walnuts has 2.6 grams of omega-3 while dry roasted pecans have 300 milligrams. Poppy seeds, pistachio nuts, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds all have 100 milligrams of omega-3 per 1-ounce serving.

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