There is a common misconception among many people that all fats are bad for the body and that they lead to obesity, heart trouble and other health issues. But there are certain essential fats that are extremely beneficial for our physical and mental health. Omega-3 fatty acids come under this category.
Here are some plant-based foods that are high in Omega-3 and should be consumed for immunity and good health. Bosting immunity is on everyone’s mind in the current times. With the danger of Coronavirus still emerging large and changing weather making us susceptible to common infections like viral flu, cold and cough, having a strong immunity is very important nowadays.
While there are many nutrients like vitamin C that help one build immunity, Omega-3 is another nutrient that plays a huge role in preparing the body to prevent from seasonal infections. Talking about keeping the immunity strong, omega-3 is one nutrient not often talked about but is a critical component of a healthy and balanced diet.
Omega-3 fatty acid provides you with good calories, gives your body energy, helps boost heart function, improves psychological health, enhances lung capacity, fights inflammation and aids better immune response along with improving the endocrine system.
The three main Omega-3 fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These are known as essential fatty acids because our body does not make them. Hence, it must be taken orally through food or supplements. While the first two are found in fish, fish oils, and other marine sources. ALA can be derived from plant foods like flaxseed, vegetable oils and walnuts. Our body can break down ALA into DHA and EPA but in very small quantities. People on plant-based diets can get these from Omega-3 supplements.
There are a variety of fats that your body can produce. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that has to be consumed directly from food sources. Thus, it’s extremely important to have foods that are rich in omega-3.
Here are 5 common food sources of omega-3 and they are stated as below:
Walnuts are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and are highly recommended to lower cholesterol levels. They also contain chemicals that can expand the body’s blood vessels, thereby improving blood circulation and improving heart health.
Walnuts are also great for controlling diabetes, preventing cancer, reducing inflammation in the body, improving skin health, regulating sleep, and managing body weight. The essential fatty acids that are present in walnuts are extremely beneficial as they help the body absorb higher amounts of calcium from food, leading to improved bone health.
Walnuts are not just rich in antioxidants; they are also rich in omega 3, which makes it a great food to be included in your immunity-boosting diet.
- Chia & Flaxseeds
An easily available vegetarian source of Omega-3 fatty acids, chia and flax seeds are well-known to be great sources of Omega 3, Vitamin A, Magnesium, and Manganese and protect you from harmful free radicals produced during the metabolic processes. They contribute to increased daily fibre intake and are an excellent source of Omega-3s for vegans and vegetarians. These seeds can be added to smoothies, salads, and desserts. They also form an integral part of a weight loss diet regime due to their countless health benefits.
Flaxseeds are considered to be a superfood. Often ground or used to make oil, these small seeds help in fighting cancer, reducing sugar cravings and promoting weight loss. Chia seeds lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, improve exercise performance and also provides health benefits to the brain.
- Fish & Other Seafood
If you are a non-vegetarian, fish is a great source of omega-3 for you. Most types of fish such as salmon and mackerel are high in omega-3 content. These fish varieties are rich in protein and magnesium, which can help with muscle recovery and reduce the risk of heart diseases. They also provide you with vitamin B12, D and selenium and thus help in building immunity and improving mental health.
A 100 gms serving of mackerel offers 5134 mg Omega-3 while salmon gives 2260mg for the same amount. Include these fishes and other seafood like cod, tuna and sardines at-least two to three times in a week. The fats provide a number of cardiovascular benefits such as lessening inflammation throughout the body, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, and embolism.
Apart from providing omega-3, soybean is a good source of fibre and protein. Consuming soybeans helps in reducing heart disease and improves heart health. It is also rich in nutrients which include folate, potassium, magnesium and Vitamins. Soybeans are more rich in omega 6 fatty acids than omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 6 is also essential for our body. Both should be taken in moderation to maintain a balance.
People usually serve soybeans as part of a meal or in a salad. Soybean oil works well as a cooking oil and in salad dressings. Soybeans have ALA, which promotes heart health. In fact, having one bowl of lightly cooked soybeans contains more omega-3 fats than some cold-water fish!!!
Blueberries are the star among berries, providing 174 milligrams of omega 3 and 258 milligrams of omega 6 per cup. Blueberries are low in calories and are packed with antioxidants. The antioxidants in blueberries reduce the risk factors for heart disease, lowering LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
As you can see, it’s relatively easy to obtain plenty of omega-3s from whole foods. Omega-3s provide numerous health benefits, such as fighting inflammation and heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of the diet and essential to your health.
However, if you don’t eat many of these foods and think you may be lacking in omega-3s, consider taking omega-3 supplements. OR either incorporating a few omega-3-rich foods into your diet or opting for a plant-based supplement, it’s possible to meet your needs, seafood-free.