Omega-3 fatty acids facilitate many of your body’s natural processes. In short, they help your body run more efficiently. While you can find omega-3 capsules in the supplement aisle at your local pharmacy or grocery store, it’s entirely possible to get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from the foods you eat if you know where to find them.
Top-ranked physician and cardiologist Jeffrey H. Graf, MD, is no stranger to omega-3s and their immense benefits for your heart and other vital organs. He offers personalized primary care and cardiology, empowering patients to take more control over their health and reduce their risk of preventable chronic diseases like heart disease and high cholesterol.
At his practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, Dr. Graf provides personalized health and wellness advice, including nutritional tips like eating more omega-3s. He explains their importance as part of your diet and the health improvements that come with eating more of them.
Where to find omega-3s
Recent research has indicated that most Americans — including about 68% of adults — don’t consume enough omega-3s to meet their nutritional requirements. This could be because people aren’t sure what omega-3 fatty acids are, what they do, or where to find them.
If you’re looking to fit more omega-3s in your diet, your local fish market is an excellent starting point. Fish like mackerel, salmon, and herring are packed with omega-3s and are deliciously filling dietary staples. Per serving size, they offer large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that satisfy your nutritional needs.
Yet not everyone is willing or able to consume fish. Fortunately, there are plenty of other food sources for those with dietary restrictions or different preferences. Some non-animal sources of omega-3s, like algae oil, are similarly found in bodies of water. You can also meet your omega-3 dietary requirements by consuming:
- Ground or milled flaxseed
- Chia seeds
Note the diversity in your options. If your diet is highly restrictive, or if you’re just a picky eater, omega-3 supplements remain an option, although their benefits aren’t as well-established as food-sourced omega-3s. Adding vegan omega-3s to your diet could be as simple as stirring a spoonful of chia seeds into your morning yogurt or smoothie.
Prioritizing omega-3 foods
What makes omega-3 fatty acids so nutritionally vital? Omega-3s are a form of polyunsaturated fat, which is a healthy type of fat that assists many important processes in your body. Your body produces some of these fats, too, but it can’t produce enough of them.
Omega-3s are a key part of the structure of your cell membranes. They also support cell interactions, such as inside your brain and eyes, and they help you maintain a functional cardiovascular system and endocrine system. Getting enough omega-3s can lower your risk of detrimental heart problems like cardiovascular disease and blood clots.
Other noteworthy benefits of omega-3-rich foods are:
- Better eyesight
- Better brain function and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s
- Lower breast cancer risk
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
During your next visit, Dr. Graf can discuss with you the latest research on the nutritional value of omega-3 fatty acids and the most up-to-date guidelines for how much omega-3 you should consume. Dr. Graf can also connect you with a Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach to discuss your nutrition goals to promote your overall wellbeing. To transform your diet and overall well-being with omega-3s, get in touch today.