Omega-3 fatty acids fall under the category of unsaturated fats that play an incredibly important role when it comes to our health. The three main types of omega-3 fatty acids - ALA, EPA and DHA - have been know to exert anti-inflammatory benefits within the body and aid in the management of many health conditions ranging from depression to cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids are classified as ‘essential’, meaning as humans, we are dependent upon them and are unable to synthesise them ourselves. Therefore, they need to be consumed via our diet.
Below you’ll find 5 simple steps to aid in increasing your intake of these glorious fats;
(1) Consume oily fish x 3 weekly
Oily fish would have to be one of the most potent food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A sure way to get in your omega-3’s is to consume either salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna or herring, up to three times per week.
(2) Add 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds to your meals
Hemp seeds are packed full of nutrients. They are the perfect combination of omega-3’s, protein and fibre and therefore, are a great addition to any meal or snack. Their nutty taste and soft consistency make them easy to add to basically any meal. Try sprinkling them onto salads, roasted vegetables or adding them to smoothies, a muesli mix or oatmeal.
(3) Make chia pudding for breakfast
To make a chia pudding, combine 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean extract, 1 tablespoon of coconut or greek yogurt to 1/2 cup of water or plant based milk. Mix well and allow to sit overnight in the fridge or for a minimum of 30 minutes. Top with fruit and nuts of choice!
(4) Snack on a handful of walnuts daily
Walnuts are incredibly high in omega-3 fatty acids. When feeling peckish mid morning or mid afternoon, rather than reaching for a caffeine hit, try snacking on a handful of walnuts. Their high protein, fibre and fat content will help keep you satiated and tie you over till your next meal.
(5) Drizzle flax seed oil onto your salads
In addition to the above suggestions, flax seed oil also contains relatively high amounts of omega-3 fats. An important note to keep in mind here is that to ensure the medicinal properties remain intact, flax seed oil should not be heated and it’s best to keep it in the fridge. A great way to add flax into your diet is as a salad dressing or incorporated into a smoothie.
If you suffer from an inflammatory driven condition such as arthritis - increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids would certainly be a beneficial addition to your treatment plan!