THE following foods are all high in unsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids, but Omega-3 is not all they have to offer.
1 Salmon. Salmon is the poster food for Omega-3 fatty acids and with good reason. But it’s not just Omega-3 that makes salmon so healthy. It contains astaxanthin, which gives the salmon its red color and works to reduce bad cholesterol, which, in turn, decreases the risk of developing heart disease.
Salmon is high in vitamins B 12 and 3, vitamin D, protein and potassium. The protein helps body with the healing process after it has been injured.
Salmon has more potassium than bananas. Potassium keeps fluid retention at a normal level and lowers high blood pressure.
Selenium is a mineral found in salmon that keeps bones healthy and helps keep autoimmune thyroid disease in check by decreasing thyroid antibodies.
Salmon is a powerful and delicious tool for treating inflammation.
2 Chia seeds. Chia seeds are a “superfood” that originated in South America. They are said to have been a dietary staple for the Mayan and Aztec people hundreds of years ago.
Chia seeds are high in fiber, protein, calcium and of course Omega-3 fatty acids, but low in calories. Chia seeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants.
Chia seeds are also loaded with bone nutrients. The calcium, magnesium and phosphorous help fight the onset of brittle bones and can be especially beneficial for the elderly.
They are a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians and are easy to incorporate into your diet. They don’t have a strong taste and can sprinkled on smoothies or mixed into oats.
Chia seeds are whole grain and gluten free.
3 Walnuts. The Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts make them really good for your brain. Vitamin E, melatonin (a hormone that keeps our sleep cycles regular), antioxidants, folate and Omega-3 all work together to improve cognitive function, especially in young adults.
Walnuts also have a powerful impact on sperm production and quality. A study in America showed that men who ingested 75 grams of walnuts daily for 12 weeks showed sperm with improved shape, size and swimming speed.
While the white, flaky skin of a walnut is not necessarily delicious, it holds nearly 90 percent of the antioxidants the nut provides.
4 Egg yolks. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the egg yolk, not the white, so if you are trying to load up on Omega-3, skip those egg-white omelettes.
Egg yolks have a mixed reputation as a healthy option because they are quite high in cholesterol. Because of this, some dieticians do not recommend over loading your diet with eggs.
Egg yolks also contain vitamin B, folate and choline. Choline works to build up cell walls within our body, keeping them strong and healthy.
The Omega-3 in egg yolks lowers triglycerides, a fat lipid found in the blood. A large amount of triglycerides can result in the development of heart disease.
Eggs are also an excellent source of protein suitable for vegetarians.
5 Spinach. One cup of spinach yields 200 grams of Omega-3, making it an excellent source of good fatty acids.
Spinach is a relatively inexpensive food that offers a whole lot of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C, calcium and folate, to name a few.
Cooked spinach is full of xanthene and beta carotene, which improve eyesight. Spinach is also great for anyone suffering from dry-eye syndrome, which is sometimes brought on by a lack of vitamin A.
Other health benefits of spinach include:
- Maintaining a healthy blood pressure;
- Producing enough stomach mucus to protect against ulcers;
- Aiding in fetal development;
- Boosting your metabolism;
- Preventing strokes and osteoporosis;
- The anti-inflammatory properties (thanks to omega-3); and
- Strengthening of muscles
6 Fish oil. Fish-oil capsules are basically a concentrated dose of omega-3. They have become a popular health supplement, especially for vegans and vegetarians. However, everyone could benefit from taking them, as most of us, especially in the West, are not getting enough good unsaturated fats in our diets.
The benefits of taking fish oil are abundant-Fish oil:
- Reduces arthritis symptoms;
- Inhibits the growth of cancerous cells;
- Significantly improves egression and restlessness in children with ADHD;
- Protects hippocampal cells;
- Reverses and prevents cardiovascular disease;
- Is immune-boosting; and
- Increases fertility and is important for strong fetal development.
7 Soybeans. Soybeans, or soya beans, are grown in the Americas and are available for consumption in a variety of forms. Edamame is a juvenile form of soybeans in the pod that is popular in Japan. Soy milk can also be used as an alternative to regular milk for vegans or persons suffering from lactose intolerance.
Zinc, vitamins C,K and B6, iron, potassium, copper and riboflavin are all found in soybeans.
The most notable dietary advantages of soybeans are the formation and oxygenation of red blood cells; metabolism stabilization, which can help with insomnia and healthy weight loss; and the soothing of menopausal symptoms.
Soybeans are high in fiber, which aid digestion by stimulating contractions of muscles in the small intestines and preventing constipation. A healthy digestive system is key in preventing cancer of the colon.
Soybeans also contain magnesium, which has been linked directly to improving the amount of hours and quality of sleep one gets a night.
To really get the most nutrition out of your soybeans, it is recommended to buy organic.
8 Mackerel. Mackerel is the most heavily consumed fish in all of India and, as with all of the fish on our list, mackerel has astoundingly high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
The anti-inflammatory compounds, protein and Omega-3 fatty acids are just a few reasons you should include this fish in your diet.
If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (the most prevalent autoimmune arthritis) you may be experiencing swelling and pain in your joints. This is because it causes corrosion in the lining of the joints. If left untreated, however, the symptoms can become a lot more serious. Damage to the heart, blood vessels, lungs, skin and eyes are all symptoms of progression of the disease.
This is all because the arthritis causes your immune system to attack healthy tissues. Mackerel is high in fatty acids that help to alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Consuming mackerel can help regulate blood pressure, lower the danger of diabetes and the joint pain brought on by arthritis, and protect against certain types of cancer.
9 Flaxseeds. Flaxseeds, or linseeds, are small, brown on tan seeds with a wide variety of nutritional benefits. They can be consumed whole (not always recommended, as the body struggles to absorb all the nutrients this way), ground or as flaxseed meal.
They are high in omega-3, fiber (both insoluble and soluble) and are powerful antioxidants. They also contain 800 times more lignans than any other plant-based food. Lignans contain antioxidants and estrogen.
Studies in animals have concluded that the ALA in omega-3 found in flaxseeds has had an inhibiting effect on growth and incidence in tumors.
They have also shown a positive effect against colon, breast and prostate cancer.
The benefits of flaxseeds include but are not limited to:
- Lowering cholesterol in the body;
- Maintaining healthy hair and skin;
- Soothing menopausal symptoms; and
- Fighting against certain kinds of cancers;
Flaxseeds are also gluten-free and flaxseed meal can be used in as an egg substitute when baking for vegans; and
Pregnant and lactating women, however, should avoid consuming flaxseeds or flaxseed oil.
10 Oysters. Oysters are an expensive and are not always thought of as a health food, but they are chock full of minerals and vitamins.
Vitamins C, D, B and A, as well as over a total of 14 minerals, are found in the meat of just one oyster. Almost 90 percent of the recommended daily dose of iron can be found in just one serving of oysters. Oysters are high in protein and low in unhealthy fats.
The omega-3 in oysters is beneficial in protecting against Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease (improves circulation) and issues with weakening bones (fights osteoporosis).
Another health benefit of oysters is that they strengthen the immune system. The anti-inflammatories and antioxidants in oysters help the body fight against free radicals, which are rogue cells that attack healthy cells.
One must always be sure to know where oysters have been sourced, as they absorb nutrients heavily from their surroundings.
11 Anchovies. Anchovies are a tiny fish that pack a big taste. Most people only ever eat them on pizza or as a dressing over their chicken caesar salad, without knowing the full scope of their nutritional value.
Anchovies are great for combating the aging process (proteins that aid in cell and membrane repair), maintaining healthy skin (vitamins, omega-3 and selenium) and assisting with weight loss (high protein and low calories).
Other benefits include stripping away of unhealthy cholesterol, strengthening of bones and eyesight, and preventing toxicity buildup in the body.
Anchovies can be quite high in sodium, so people with high blood pressure should be wary of including too many in their diets.
12 Tofu. There are eight essential amino acids nutritionally available, and tofu contains all of them. It is also an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Tofu is made from curdled soybean milk. Eaten regularly in the East, it is becoming more popular worldwide, especially as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians because of the high protein content.
Tofu contains something called phytoestrogens, which is a chemical that mimics the hormone oestrogen. Phytoestrogens attach themselves to the receptor sites for oestrogen within the cells making up female breast tissue, and this has the potential to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.
13 Lentils. Lentils contain the highest concentration of protein out of any plant-based foods. They are also an excellent source of fiber, which make them great digestive tract aids. A diet high in lentils can have positive effects for those suffering from Crohn’s and IBS.
Lentils have more to offer than alleviation from constipation. A few other health benefits are:
- High in folic acid (helps prevent birth defects in pregnant women);
- Full of amino acids that aid in muscle generation (specifically sprouted lentils);
- Keeps blood sugar consistent;
- Relaxes cardiovascular muscles and lowers blood pressure, keeping your heart healthy;
- Protects genes and cells from being damaged; and
- High in iron.
14 Mustard seeds. Mustard seeds have been used in cooking for so long that they have even been mentioned in the Bible and a Sanskrit about Buddha. They come from a plant that is very closely related to broccoli, cabbage and sprouts. They are available in white, black and brown. While the tastes and textures may be a bit different, the nutritional values are all the same.
Mustard seeds contain manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, antioxidants, sulphur and phosphorous.
The selenium found in mustard seeds can help battle arthritis and alleviate pain and discomfort associated with menstruation.
The magnesium in mustard seeds helps to lower blood pressure and helps dissipate migraines.
The antioxidants in mustard seeds help to slow down the aging process, and the sulphur can be very beneficial for those suffering from skin conditions and infections.
Some more health benefits of mustard seeds are:
- Alleviating menopausal symptoms;
- Easing respiratory problems;
- Lowering the risk of heart disease and heart attacks; and
- Lowering blood pressure.
15 Kidney beans. Kidney beans are full of a slow-releasing carbohydrate. These kinds of carbohydrates are better for you, as they keep you fuller and energised for longer throughout the day. They are also full of resistant starch and fiber, which can be a useful tool when it comes to managing weight loss.
Kidney beans hold over eight different kinds of minerals and vitamins, including iron and folate which, are great for blood oxygenation and healthy pregnancies.
Kidney beans are also high in omega-3 and protein, making them a great meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans alike.