A nutrient much talked about these days, omega-3 belongs to the group of polyunsaturated fatty acids, commonly called “good fats”. These fatty acids are considered essential because our body cannot produce them, having to obtain them from food sources. The best known are Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA), Docosanoic Acid (DHA) and Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, its benefits have been widely studied, and it is extremely important to make a correct daily intake. The recommendations state that 250mg of EPA and DHA and 2g of ALA should be taken daily.
Do you know which foods are rich in omega-3s? Find out here.
Currently, Regulation (EU) No. 432/2012 of the European Commission recognizes, for omega-3s, some health claims when ingested the recommended daily dose of each of these acids:
– Alpha-linolenic acid – contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels, reducing total cholesterol and LDL levels and raising HDL levels;
– DHA – contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function and the maintenance of normal vision;
– EPA and DHA – contribute to the normal functioning of the heart, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and acute myocardial infarction, by reducing risk factors such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate, reducing triglyceride values and improving venous function, and attenuation of inflammation.
The main food sources of animal origin are those that give a greater amount of EPA and DHA, and a plant-based diet translates into a reduced amount of these nutrients. For this reason, a restricted diet of foods of animal origin, when poorly planned, can lead to an omega-3 deficit. However, some foods of plant origin are rich in ALA which, in turn, will convert to EPA and DHA. It is therefore essential to make a balanced intake of these foods daily.
What foods are high in omega-3 in a plant-based diet?
As foods that supply omega 3 in a plant-based diet, we have seeds, especially flaxseed and chia seeds, oil fruits in general, in particular pecan nut, flaxseed oil and algae.
In order to make a correct daily intake of these nutrients, include the foods mentioned above throughout the day, including, for example, seaweed in your salads, seeds in your vegetable yogurt or porridge and dried fruit accompanied by a fruit in a of your snacks.
Omega-3 supplements should not be used in the absence of a deficit. Get advice from a health professional and improve your omega-3 intake!
Nutritionist Holmes Place Amoreiras