7 Delicious Options to Increase Your Omega-3s

Amanda Carney

Whether you are an athlete, partake in regular exercise or just want to make sure you are supporting a healthy body, omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient to consider as they support the body in many (many!) beneficial ways. In addition to supporting a healthy heart, balancing cholesterol, supporting brain health, increasing immunity, improving mood, balancing hormones and fighting inflammation, these essential fatty acids can be particularly beneficial for those looking to increase their endurance and recovery time both during physical activity an afterwards!

So why are omega-3’s consider essential fatty acids?

Whenever you see the word “essential” used to describe a nutrient, it means that particular nutrient is necessary for a healthy body AND the body does not create that nutrient on its own, making it ESSENTIAL to include into your diet.

When it comes to omega-3’s, they are well known for their strong anti-inflammatory effects. Not only is this beneficial for day-to-day detoxification and disease prevention, but can also support a more efficient exercise routine. Omega-3’s have been shown to decrease recovery time with exercise and support the body in healing at a faster rate. They can reduce exercise-induced inflammation (think muscle soreness and fatigue) and support the body in its response to strenuous exercise by managing oxidative stress.

Omega-3’s are also known for their role in heart health, and an increase in omega-3 fatty acids may strengthen blood flow throughout the body, which is particularly beneficial to skeletal muscles during exercise. When muscles are provided with more oxygen, there can be an increase in endurance and performance, allowing for a more sustainable and lengthy exercise regimen.

So are you ready to get more omega-3’s into your diet? Here are a few simple ways:

Simple Broiled Salmonsalmon-1000x667

(serves 1-2)
½ lb wild caught salmon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme (or other herb of choice)
A squeeze of lemon

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place salmon, skin down, in the middle of the pan.

Drizzle salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herb of your choice.

Place baking tray in the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon and how you prefer it cooked (less time for thinner pieces and/or if you prefer it more tender / more time for thicker pieces and if you prefer it well done).

Remove from oven, drizzle with lemon juice, and enjoy on top of a salad or alongside roasted veggies and/or grain of your choice!

Sardine Saladsardines

A great replacement for tuna salad, sardines are loaded with omega-3’s and don’t have the high levels of mercury that tuna contains. With a strong flavor that is similar to tuna, sardines can be used in any way you would use canned tuna, including this recipe below.

(serves 1-2)
1 can wild sardines (I recommend skinless and boneless for those who are new to sardines)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon minced onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Enjoy with (gluten free) crackers, over a slice of (gluten free) bread, or to top off a bowl of mixed greens.

Not a sardine person? Don’t fret – try canned wild salmon instead!

If you don’t enjoy seafood or are looking to receive a higher dose of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, a high quality fish oil supplement could be a good option: Nordic Naturals – Ultimate Omega, Support for a Healthy Heart.

And if you are a vegetarian / vegan…
Here is a list of plant-based omega-3’s to incorporate in your meals.

Flaxseeds

Toss these small seeds in your morning smoothie or use a ground flax meal over oatmeal or yogurt.
Here are some delicious oatmeal recipes that would go great with ground flax meal

Walnuts

Toss them over salads, mix them into oatmeal or yogurt, or simply enjoy them as a snack!

Chia seeds

These small black seeds are not only really nutritious but are extremely versatile. Toss in breakfast meals like eggs, oatmeal, smoothies or yogurt, sprinkle over salads, mix into baked goods or make your own Chia Seed Pudding.

Sea vegetables

Also known as seaweed, sea vegetables are extremely nutrient dense, containing many trace minerals that are essential to a healthy body. Nori, dulse and kelp are some of the more available seaweeds, and are easier to include in your diet then you might think! Both dulse and kelp come in shakers and can be sprinkled over any salad or veggie dish. Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Organic Kelp Granules Salt Alternative.

Nori sheets are best known for being used in sushi rolls, but can also make a great wrap alternative:

Vegetable Nori Rollsushi1

(serves 1)
2 sheets nori
2 tablespoons hummus
½ an avocado, cut into thin slices
1 small cucumber, cut into matchsticks
¼ cup sweet pea shoots or sprouts
¼ cup small, shredded carrots
Salt and pepper to taste

Lay out nori sheets on a flat surface and spread a thin layer of hummus over half of the nori sheet. Lay out the avocado, cucumber, carrot sticks and pea shoots on top of the hummus, leaving ½ of the nori sheet with nothing on it.

Season with salt and pepper.

Begin carefully rolling the side with the vegetables toward the center of the nori sheet as you would a sushi roll. (A bamboo sushi mat makes this easier).

Using a sharp knife, slice roll into pieces and enjoy!

And for additional omega-3 support in supplementation form, there are vegan varieties such as this algae-based omega-3 supplement.

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