Eight Ways to Up Your Healthy Omega-3 Fat Intake

Chances are you’ve heard about the mega health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fats, which play a crucial role in cell function, are also helpful in reducing harmful inflammation that can be a harbinger to heart disease. What’s more, omega-3s have also been found to decrease triglyceride levels and blood pressure and may help to prevent fatal heart arrhythmias.

But here’s the rub: your body can’t produce omega-3s. That’s why you’ve got to be diligent about making sure your diet provides plenty of this healthy fat. Some of these eight sources are well known, while others may surprise you.


  1. Seafood – The Harvard School of Public Health conducted an analysis of 20 studies and found that eating approximately one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish a week-salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines – reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 36%.
  2. Oils – Not all oils are created equal. Opt for flaxseed oil or olive oil on salads and consider canola or soybean oil for a nice hit of the omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is converted by the body (albeit poorly in older folks) into the more functionally important Omega-3s, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
  3. Beans – An unexpected rich source of omega-3s can be found in many beans, including the kidney, pinto and black varieties.
  4. Nuts and Seeds – Add a nutty flavor and texture punch to salads, yogurt or oatmeal with walnuts or flaxseed. A small handful of either will tastefully up your omega-3 intake.
  5. Spinach – Popeye knew his stuff. This tasty and versatile leafy green is as at home in a salad as sautéed and added to your favorite whole-grain pasta dish.
  6. Winter Squash – This satisfying omega-3 rich veggie makes an interesting side dish.
  7. Broccoli & Cauliflower – Cruciferous cousins, these two veggies are on your side when it comes to omega-3s.
  8. Dietary Supplements – Still having trouble getting your full dose of daily omega 3s? You might want to consider taking a supplement, especially if you have heart disease or high triglycerides. To be on the safe side, discuss any new supplement with a trusted health care professional first.