Diet: The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids

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What foods contain the most omega-3?

Many dietary recommendations recommend eating two meals Fish to eat a week. Because fish is rich Omega-3 fatty acids, which is of particular importance for heart health. But which fish and other foods have the highest percentage? A nutritionist names the best sources of omega-3.

Julia Zumpano She is a registered dietitian at the famous Cleveland Clinic in Ohio (USA). In a recent article, the expert explains what food They must be a regular part of the menu in order to absorb enough omega-3 fatty acids.

Why are omega-3 fatty acids so healthy?

Omega 3 It is an essential fatty acid – we cannot live without this fat. But the body cannot produce them on its own. It must be ingested through food.

Omega-3 improves cardiovascular health at doses between 1 and 4 grams per day.explained Zumpano. Taken regularly, omega-3s can reduce the risk of death in affected people Cardiovascular diseases And Arrhythmia decrease.

According to a nutritionist, regular intake of Omega-3 also contributes to this

  • Reduce the risk of blood clots
  • prevent plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis),
  • Decreased levels of fats in the blood
  • Slightly lowers blood pressure
  • Restrain inflammation.

Three different types of omega-3

Fish is the most important source of omega-3 fatty acids.Zumpano confirms. Because fish provides two types of omega-3 fatty acids that our body needs, namely fatty acid (EPA) f Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In addition, some plant products also contain omega-3 fatty acids Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA).

Fish is the best source of omega 3

Fish is always a good choice for omega-3s. However, there are also large differences in the content of valuable fatty acids between types of fish. Anyone who considers an ordinary fish should also think about the possible Mercury exposure Keep in mind that some types of fish are affected more than others.

What fish are most often contaminated with mercury?

High levels of mercury in fish can damage the brain and nervous system. Some fish contain higher levels of mercury and environmental toxins.According to Zumpano. Particularly larger and older fish, which mainly feed on other smaller fish, are often contaminated with mercury. These include, for example

  • shark,
  • swordfish,
  • king mackerel,
  • brick perch,
  • Orange rough fish.

If you want to eat this fish, you must remove the skin and surface fat before cooking, as this is where most of the mercury is deposited.

Fish with the highest amount of Omega 3

The nutritionist recommends choosing fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids but low in mercury. The following types of fish are particularly suitable (the omega-3 content indicates a portion of about 80 grams):

  • Farmed Atlantic salmon (1.83 grams of omega-3)
  • Atlantic herring (1.71 grams of omega-3).
  • Wild Atlantic salmon (1.57 grams of omega-3s).
  • White fish (1.38 grams of omega-3).
  • European anchovies (1.23 grams of omega-3).
  • Atlantic mackerel (1.02 grams of omega-3).
  • Green halibut (1 gram omega-3)
  • Blue fish (0.84 grams of omega-3).
  • Rainbow trout (0.84 grams of omega-3).
  • Striped bass (0.82 grams of omega-3).
  • Atlantic sardines (0.83 grams of omega-3).

Omega 3 vegetable sources

Not everyone loves fish or wants to eat fish. Fortunately, there are quite a few as well plant foods, which are also good sources of omega-3, but not as rich as fish. On the other hand, there is no risk of mercury contamination with plant products.

As mentioned above, plant-based products contain omega-3s in the form of ALA. This must be converted first to EPA and then to DHA in the body, which is why vegetable omega-3s are not quite as effective as omega-3s from fish. According to nutritionist Zumpano, the following plant foods are high in ALA:

  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil: 7.26 grams of ALA
  • 30 grams of chia seeds: 5.06 grams of ALA
  • 30 grams of walnuts: 2.57 grams of ALA
  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseed: 2.35 grams of ALA
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil: 1.28 grams of ALA
  • 1 tablespoon of soybean oil: 0.92 grams of ALA


Author and source information

This text complies with specifications in the expert medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been vetted by medical professionals.


Graduate Editor (FH) Volker Plasek


  • Cleveland Clinic: How to Choose Fish High in Omega-3s and Low in Mercury (Published 1/25/2023),
  • Food and Drug Administration: Advice on Eating Fish (PDF, as of October 2021),
  • National Institutes of Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Fact Sheet for Health Professionals (as of 07/18/2022),

important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.

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