It’s common knowledge that Omega fatty acids play an important role in a healthy diet. These types of fats are essential to your brain, your heart, your skin, and more. While it’s true that fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and herring are great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, these sources aren’t really an option for vegans, who must come by their Omegas through plants. For vegans, vegetarians, and people searching for healthy, organic, plant-based sources of all the Omegas, there are plenty of options available.
Understanding the different types of Omega fatty acids
While Omega 3 and 6 are the most commonly known types of fatty acids, there are four types altogether: Omega 3, 6, 7, and 9. They are conveniently named according to the number of carbons in their chemical composition. Here’s a look at the benefits, and some plant-based, vegan sources for each of the Omegas:
- Omega 3 benefits the heart, brain and metabolic functions of the body. They are found in animal sources, such as fish, but also in botanical sources like chia seeds, flax seeds, cruciferous vegetables, and hemp seeds.
- Omega 6 provides the body with energy. Omega 6 is one of the easiest of the fatty acids to obtain because it is highly available in foods that are typically over consumed today. It is found in soybean and corn oil, as well as in mayonnaise. Healthier sources are walnuts, sunflower seeds, and cashews.
- Omega 7 is a lesser-known fatty acid that is great for the skin, heart, and for controlling blood sugar levels. Sea buckthorn and its oil have a ton of Omegas, and especially Omega 7.
- Omega 9 fatty acids are considered to be non-essential because they can be produced by the body. They are important for healthy metabolic functions and can be supplemented by eating olive oil, almond oil, almonds, cashews, and walnuts.
Ways to incorporate more Omegas into a vegan diet
With so many great plant sources of Omega fatty acids, it isn’t difficult to come up with tasty ways for vegans to add these important nutrients into their diet. Adding nuts and seeds to salads, stews, and soups is easy and delicious. Switch from drinking coffee to sea buckthorn tea for a daily treat. Shop for more cruciferous vegetables at the market, and change from corn oil to olive oil when cooking. Today there are more ways than ever for vegans to get more omegas in their diet!
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