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October 30, 2023 •

How to Make Sure the “Essential” Omega-3 Fats Are Ever-Present In Your Diet

I cannot stress enough how important it is to be certain that you are regularly consuming this crucially important fat. 

The foods that provide omega-3 fats include seafood (particularly oily fish), walnuts, whole soy foods, canola oil, omega-3 fortified eggs, flax, chia, and hemp seeds, wheat germ, and dark leafy greens.  

  • Of all the omega-3 foods, oily fish are by far the best source because they contain such large quantities of these blockbuster fats and because the omega-3 fats they offer come ready-made in their biologically active forms, DHA and EPA.  

  • The oily fish highest in omega-3 fats in descending order include: salmon (all varieties; wild and farmed), rainbow trout (wild and farmed), sardines, mackerel, and halibut. 

  • Strive to consume at least two servings of oily fish a week, though more is even better. Based on my personal experience, eating more salmon and sardines is the easiest way to go.  Cooked fresh or frozen salmon filets, frozen salmon burgers, (which can be found at Costco), and salmon croquettes or salmon salad made from canned salmon (see recipes for both on my website) are convenient and delicious. Remember that wild salmon is always the best choice. Canned sardines packed in water or olive oil are super convenient. I like them with a little mustard.

  • Please note that all seafood, including non-oily fish, oysters, scallops and shrimp contain appreciable amounts of omega-3 fats and can make a meaningful contribution to your omega-3 needs.  

  • The non-seafood, plant-based omega-3 foods (walnuts, whole soy foods, canola oil, flax, chia, hemp seeds, wheat germ, and dark leafy greens) are highly nutritious and kitchen-worthy as a source of omega-3 fats, but cannot compete in quality with the omega-3 fats found in seafood.  

  • If you cannot (due to allergies) or will not eat oily fish, it is highly unlikely that you will meet your body’s optimal omega-3 fat requirements. In this case, consider taking a high-quality fish oil supplement. I prefer the Nordic Naturals brand. For vegetarians and those allergic to fish, algae-based DHA supplements can be found online. Please note, however, that taking omega-3 supplements is likely not to be as effective for overall health as eating real fish. Always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.