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Vegetarian's Guide to Choosing Omega-3 Supplements


Vegetarian's Guide to Choosing Omega-3 Supplements

If you are a strict vegan or vegetarian and want to avoid all animal products, you may be wondering how to get your omega-3s without eating fish or taking fish oil supplements.

Thankfully, it is possible to get your fill with vegetarian-friendly supplements and foods. Here we take a glance at the best omega-3 sources for your diet and lifestyle:

Why do you need omega-3s? 

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that are key to overall health and wellness – particularly brain development and function.

Because our bodies can’t produce fatty acids, it’s crucial to source them from foods or supplements.

Types of omega-3

There are several different types of omega-3s. The three most important are:
  •     ALA: alpha-linolenic acid
  •     EPA: eicosapentaenoic acid
  •     DHA: docosahexaenoic acid

AHA is found in a variety of fresh foods such as nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables, while EPA and DHA are mostly found in fish and other sea products such as seaweed.

How to get omega-3s as a vegetarian or vegan

Many people choose to get their omega-3 intake from fish such as salmon and tuna, as well as krill and algae.

And because EPA and DHA are mostly sourced from fish, it can be difficult to get enough of the fatty acids if you don’t eat animal products. Difficult, but not impossible.

Consider these tips:

  • Take an ALA supplement, because ALA is converted into EPA and DHA (although only a small amount is converted).
  • Eat algae or take an omega-3 supplement made from algae.
  • Take a fish oil supplement, if you are happy to take fish oil into your body.
  • Eat fewer amounts of omega-6s (fatty acids found in corn, soy, and safflower oils). Too much interferes with the conversion of ALA into EPA. Eat a diet high in plant foods, nuts, and seeds.
Your nutritionist or dietician can help ensure you’re getting enough essential fatty acids in your diet.

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