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Omega-3 fatty acids, which are also called n-3 fatty acids, are important nutrients required by our body. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are three types of omega-3 fatty acids. These are polyunsaturated fatty acids and are essential for our body to perform different functions. They cannot be produced in our body, and hence, we need to know the different foods rich in these acids. These are mainly found in sea animals and plants. They are termed as essential, since our body is unable to synthesize them. They are not only helpful for different body functions, but high doses have also been useful for treating certain health disorders.

Vital Information

Research has shown that it is necessary to consume at least 2- 4 gm of omega-3 fatty acids on a daily basis, to meet the nutritional requirements. The chief sources are sea organisms, while plants contain a very low percentage. All fish oils contain a high percentage of these essential fatty acids. Vegetarian sources contain ALA. ALA when consumed, is converted into EPA and DHA. Out of the three types, only ALA is obtained from plants; and its health benefits are not as significant as compared to the other two. Green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oil, and nuts are some of the vegetarian sources. Here is a table that will guide you with detailed information on the amount of the fatty acids contained in each of the food items.

Food Item Quantity Omega-3 Fatty Acids (mg)
Flaxseed oil 1 tablespoon 7196
Flaxseed 1 ounce 6388
Salmon Oil 1 tablespoon 4767
Cod Liver Oil 1 tablespoon 2664
Dried Butternuts 1 ounce 2441
Basil (Chopped) 2 tablespoons 16.6
Grape Leaves (Canned) 1 ounce 236
Tuna (Fried / Cooked) 100 gm 1664
Chinese Broccoli (Cooked) 100 gm 258
Halibut 100 gm 520
Walnut Oil 1 tablespoon 1404
Spinach (Cooked) 1 ounce 104
Rainbow Trout 100 gm 1175
Herring (Salted) 100 gm 920
White Fish 100 gm 450
Wheat Germ Oil 1 tablespoon 932
Egg Yolk (Dried) 1 ounce 159
Fish Vegetable Soup 100 gm 80
Fried Vendace 100 gm 404
Fish 100 gm 375

Health Benefits
  • These fatty acids have plenty of health benefits that include protection of heart from fatal health disorders.
  • Regular consumption has shown that they help us to stay away from health problems, like, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), depression, cancer, and heart disease.
  • EPA is considered to be helpful to prevent cardiovascular diseases, while DHA helps for proper development and working of nervous system.
  • These acids contain anticoagulants that prevent blood clotting in arteries.
  • The diet that contains a reasonably good amount of these nutrients helps to decrease the triglycerides in our body. Other than lowering triglycerides, they also elevate the level of good cholesterol (HDL) and decrease the bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body.
  • They have also proved useful in treating Alzheimer's disease.
  • Deficiency of these vital sources can cause serious problems, like memory loss, learning skills, and depression.
The table above gives an approximate amount of the nutrients, that each of the food items contain. Refer to the list given above to include these foods in your diet, and enjoy the health benefits.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.