Health enthusiasts often wonder about the best ways to get regular amounts of omega-3 into their bodies without using fish sources. Their reasons for seeking fish-free sources of this vital nutrient run the gamut of health-related rationale.
A short list of the advantages of fish-free omega-3 sources points to nutritional advantages that many vegetarians and vegans seek. In fact, fish-free omega-3 supplements:
- Don’t contain the many impurities, pollutants and toxins that are inherent in today’s global fish population
- Are non-animal based by definition, thus avoid the problem of depleting the already-threatened populations of fish
- Sidestep the problem of allergens, which are a part of many fish-based supplements
- Simply taste better than their fishy counterparts, a factor not to be ignored when it comes to a daily food supplement
Shoppers take note
When shopping for non-fish omega-3 supplements, you’ll have to do a bit of label reading. First of all, make sure that the product delivers about 1000-1600 mg per day of omega-3 nutrients, particularly ALA. Your body will turn much of that ALA into a usable form of omega-3.
The other omega-3 you’ll want to look for on the label is called DHA, which can easily be acquired from a wide variety of plant-based foods as well. But if your omega-3 product contains DHA, all the better. If it does, it will likely contain the types of microalgae that provide this valuable component. Also, there are some foods that are fortified with DHA and you can always add some blue-green algae powder or tablets to your daily regimen.
What are the benefits?
There is light at the end of the tunnel for diligent consumers who find a non-fish omega-3 supplement that meets their criteria. According to health experts at WebMD, the advantages of omega-3 are numerous. Multiple studies have revealed that a diet containing omega-3 can help ward off depression, asthma, ADHD, arthritis and perhaps even Alzheimer’s.
The sad fact of the matter is that the typical American diet, which is long on processed and junk foods, and short on important vitamins and minerals, often lacks enough ALA, EPA and DHA sources to sustain a high-quality lifestyle.
Heart health and brain function
Other studies have backed up the general consensus that foods rich in omega-3 nutrients delivery countless health benefits. People who have already suffered heart attacks and strokes were able to significantly reduce the threat of a repeat attack after supplementing their diets with omega-3 sources.
And besides helping level out cholesterol and triglyceride levels, omega-3 supplements go a long way toward bolstering overall brain health. This includes the ability to learn new tasks and to remember what one has already learned.
Here is a short list of some of the physical maladies that omega-3 nutrients can help eliminate or avoid altogether:
- Coronary heart disease and stroke
- Crohn’s disease
- Breast, colon and prostate cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Many brain disorders
- Parkinson’s disease
- Fatty acid deficiency
- Autoimmune disorders
By practicing selective shopping, consumers can easily get most of the omega-3 they need each day. Here are a few of the handiest ways to get your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids:
- Walnuts: Toss a few walnuts into your morning cereal and you’ll be taking advantage of an easy and delicious source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In fact, just about any type of nut has at least some ALA, except for almonds, which have none.
- Flax Seeds: Packed with Omega-3’s you can grind up flax seeds (a pistol and mortar, or a coffee grinder work best) and put them on cereal or salads. Or, simply buy flax seed oil and squirt it in and on anything – toast (instead of butter), in oatmeal, in soups, on sandwiches.
- Algaes: While they don’t sound that appealing, taken as supplements or mixed into smoothies algaes are loaded with Omega-3s. Look for spirulina, chlorella, and blue-green algae supplements.
- Enhanced Eggs: These days just about every major grocery chain carries these tasty breakfast choices. Remember that only the egg yolk contains the omega fatty acids we’re interested in, so if you cook with just the whites, you’ll miss out on the health benefit. Look for the egg labels that mention extra Omega-3s.
Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your daily food intake provides much more than just a boost to heart health. This wonder food is known to relieve symptoms of lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and several kinds of cancer.
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