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Omega 3
Essential Fatty Acids

Where to find alternative non-fish, sources of omega 3 essential fatty acids.

Alternative Sources of Omega 3

by wlr staff Rebecca Walton

Omega 3 & Omega 6 are two Essential Fatty Acids that are recognised by most. These fatty acids are essential, as they are needed for many bodily functions and processes, however our bodies cannot produce them. This means we must obtain Omega 3 & Omega 6 from dietary sources.

Studies have shown that the ratio in our diets of these essential fatty acids is off balance, and we need to be consuming more of Omega 3. One major, concentrated source of Omega 3 is oily fish such as mackerel and salmon. The type of Omega 3 contained in these fish is a complex one made up of two types of acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) & DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). This more complex Omega 3 is perfect for our needs.

Those of us out there who are vegetarian, or simply have an aversion to fish, must consume simpler Omega 3 fatty acids from plant sources. These are called ALA’s (alpha-linolenic acid), and can be converted in our bodies into EPA & DHA.

You can find foods fortified with Omega 3 fatty acids such as breads, juices, meal bars, margarine’s and oils. Supplements are also widely available, the most popular being Linseed/Flaxseed oil (which is one of the most concentrated plant sources of Omega 3).

Other good plant based sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are:

Leafy Green Vegetables

For a double hit make a spinach and walnut (see below) salad. Add any other ingredients of your choice.

Nuts

Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts, Pecans. Brilliant as a snack instead of chocolate or sweets. Toast slightly under grill for a great taste.

Seeds

Choose a seeded roll when you go shopping. Sesame seeds also complement any slightly sweet or spicy chilli dressing.

Tahini

Tahini is a sesame seed paste that is used itself as a dip, and also as a base for some Middle Eastern sauces such as curries, as a 'roux' would be in European cooking.

Houmous

A great tasting chickpea dip (one of my favourites) – made with a tahini base!

Oils

Soya Bean Oil, Canola Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Linseed/Flaxseed Oil. Most of these can be found in your local supermarket. Experiment when cooking, marinating and dressing.

Eggs

Egg yolks, both chicken and duck, are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids.

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