So what are some other sources of omega-3s that you can find above sea level? Chia seeds, flax seeds, tofu, edamame, beans, walnuts and hemp seeds are all plant-based sources rich in ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3. Because ALA isn't used as efficiently by the body as EPA and DHA, two other types of omega-3s typically found in fish and seafood, it's good to get a balance of both.
We pulled together five fish-free recipes to help you get more omega-3s in your diet.
1. Walnut and Flaxseed Soy Yogurt
This recipe is an omega-3 two-for-one because it includes walnuts and flaxseeds — two ingredients high in omega-3 fatty acids. The earthy and nutty flavor of the nuts and seeds are paired with the creamy yogurt for a perfectly balanced breakfast.
Aside from their omega-3 content, walnuts really pull their weight when it comes to health benefits. One May 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that replacing saturated fat with walnuts reduced heart health risks, especially when it came to diastolic blood pressure.
2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
To some, chocolate and peanut butter are considered a culinary wonder. We put our healthy twist on this one by adding chia seeds to bump up the omega-3 content. Although they're teeny tiny in size, chia seeds are powerhouses when it comes to fiber, protein and omega-3s. Two tablespoons of chia seeds pack in 8 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.
This smoothie has the perfect balance of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates — deeming it ideal for breakfast or any meal of the day. Pro tip: Use a frozen banana to make your smoothie even thicker!
3. Vegan Artichoke and Edamame Salad
This recipe is a plant-based take on a creamy shrimp salad. It combines soybeans, pistachios, artichokes and radishes. Edamame provides about 0.3 grams of ALA per half-cup and they're a great option because you can buy them frozen at the grocery store — just use what you need and keep the rest frozen.
Soy-based foods like soybeans can help to lower LDL-cholesterol levels and blood pressure, according to a December 2016 study published in Nutrients. The paper also suggests there is preliminary research linking soy and a reduction in both breast and prostate cancer.
4. Tarragon Tofu "Chicken" Salad
Swapping out meat for a plant-based protein is all the rage right now. And this salad with tarragon, mayo, red onion, celery and sliced almonds knocks it out of the park. While it's trendy to eat more plant-based, it turns out it's good for your health, the planet and animals — a triple win!
In fact, sticking to a plant‐based may lower your risk of dying from heart disease by 19 percent, an August 2019 study in JAHA found. This recipe swaps chicken for tofu, which is rich in ALA, a plant-based source of omega-3s.
If you're vegan, swap the mayo in this recipe with an egg-free alternative.
5. Zesty White Bean and Arugula Salad
This simple recipe with white beans, arugula and lemon juice makes the perfect accompaniment to any dish. The white beans are the omega-3 star in this dish but all beans are a natural source of the healthy fat. Pulses such as beans, peas and lentils all have notable health benefits. A June 2014 paper published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that, thanks in part to the phytochemicals, tannins and saponins found in pulses, this group of plant-based foods is linked to heart health as well as a reduced risk of a cancer and overall inflammation.
- Journal of the American Heart Association: "Replacing Saturated Fat With Walnuts or Vegetable Oils Improves Central Blood Pressure and Serum Lipids in Adults at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized Controlled‐Feeding Trial"
- USDA Nutrient Database: "Chia Seeds"
- Nutrients: "Soy and Health Update: Evaluation of the Clinical and Epidemiologic Literature"
- Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism: "Nutritional and Health Benefits of Pulses"