Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fats that can help lower blood pressure, raise good cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of blood clots, and reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. You can get omega-3 oils by taking fish oil pills, or by adding a variety of foods to your diet. It’s easy to add omega-3 to your diet by adding a variety of fish, nuts and vegetables.
Certain Types of Fish
Don’t be fooled by the health claims of restaurant trying to get you to eat fish like tilapia and catfish. Yes, fish is a healthy alternative to a hamburger, but not all fish are heart healthy. The Mayo Clinic calls coldwater fish the best source of omega-3, which may improve cholesterol levels by reducing triglycerides, and which may help combat the effects of rheumatoid arthritis via an anti-inflammatory effect. Fish like tilapia and catfish contain higher amounts of omega-6, which, if eaten often, can cause health problems.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week, specifically because of its omega-3 content. To help prevent heart disease, the Mayo Clinic suggests up to two, 3-oz. servings of cold water fish per week.
High-fat fish and other seafood which are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: Salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, scallops, shrimp, snapper, albacore tuna and halibut. The George Mateljan Foundation for the World’s Healthiest Foods ranks salmon as the top fish choice for providing their recommended daily value of omega-3.
Seeds and Nuts
The Mateljan Foundation rates flaxseed as by far the most rich source of omega-3. Just two tablespoons provides more than 140 percent of the Mateljan DV for omega-3. Walnuts also provide a lot of omega-3, with a quarter cup providing almost 100 percent of DV.
Vegetables, Fruits and Legumes
Vegetables considered good sources of omega-3 include cauliflower, cabbage, romaine lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, collard greens, spinach, kale, soybeans, turnip grips and green beans. All of these provide 10 percent or more of the Mateljan DV.
Mayo Clinic: Catfish and Tilapia: Healthy or Harmful?
The World’s Healthiest Foods: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
American Heart Association: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
MayoClinic.com: Top 5 Foods to Lower Your Numbers
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Polyunsaturated Fats and Monounsaturated Fats