The importance of Omega 3 for vegans

Gabrielle KosterLeave a Comment

Does eating no fish mean not getting enough omega 3-fatty acids?

Let’s start with some info about omega 3-fatty acids. Did you know that omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart, brain, eyesight, blood pressure and triglyceride levels, your immune system and muscle function? Studies have found that omega 3-fatty acids may reduce inflammation, decrease blood triglycerides and even reduce the risk of dementia (123). On top of that, omega 3 fatty acids have an effect on glucose and fat metabolism.

Sounds like something I would like to take in on a daily base. But isn’t omega 3 found only in fish? Mostly, yes. But no worries, if you follow a vegan diet, there’s plenty of ways to get enough omega 3 in as well. That is, if you eat enough of plant based foods that contain omega 3.

Which plant based foods mostly contain omega 3?

  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seed
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Hemp seed
  • Seaweed
  • Walnuts
  • Edamame
  • Pumpkin seeds

So when you follow a vegan diet, you have to get your omega’s mostly from seeds and nuts. This is why I add pumpkin seeds and seaweed to my salads and chia seeds and flax seeds to my breakfast as much as I can. But, and here’s a big but…

A deficiency?

Recently I had my omega 3 ánd omega 6 ratio tested. The outcome wasn’t fabulous. I mean, it wasn’t all that bad, but it could be better. My omega 3 index was 4,2% and it has to be between 3,5 and 12%. Now how do you know if you have an omega 3 deficiency? These are some of the symptoms that could indicate a deficiency: dry or rough skin, dry, dull or ‘lifeless’ brittle hair and dandruff, excessive thirst, frequent urination and sleep problems.

Also important in your overall health: vitamin B12 >

Omega 3 supplements

Since those omega 3 acids are linked to so many important functions of your body, I added omega 3 supplements to my daily intake. Omega 3 made from algae (because that’s where fish get their omega 3 from…!).

Every day, I take in one softgel omega 3 with added astaxanthin (one of the highest sources of anti-oxidants) from Vitals. It’s suitable for vegans. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that is produced by plankton, algae, certain plants and microorganisms. It’s is a much more potent antioxidant than vitamin E and several other carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene) and neutralizes free radicals, according to OrthoKennis.nl.

Discount code

PS: if you buy any supplements at Vitals, you get a 15% discount until the end of September by using the code ‘sunshine’. You’re welcome!

This article was written in collaboration with Vitals.

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