Omega-3 for Vegans
The human brain evolved in the sea 500 million years ago, according to marine biologists. It’s little wonder then that omega-3 fatty acids, which are predominantly found in seafood, are so critical for our brain. Studies show they are also crucial for our cardiovascular health and mood.
So how do you get enough omega-3 if you’re vegan? Read on…
Flaxseed vs Fish
Flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts are all good sources of omega-3s, but bear in mind that they only contain ALA (alpha-linoleic acid). While ALA can be converted into the more crucial EPA and DHA (associated with the brain and heart benefits) the body does not convert these fats very efficiently.
This can result in higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3. We should be aiming for a golden ratio of 2;1 – ie roughly double the amount of omega-6 to omega-3.
However today the average person has an estimated ratio between 10:1 and 20:1. This dramatic rise in omega-6 dovetails with our increased appetite for ready meals and fast food restaurants. Omega 6-rich oils - like sunflower, safflower and soybean oil - cost very little and are therefore used frequently in commercial cooking.
So forgo that greasy Chinese take-away and make alkaline meals from scratch if you want to balance your fatty acid ratio. Try Natasha’s delicious Asian Seaweed Noodle Broth, which is rich in plant-based omega-3s.
Seaweed has small amounts of EPA and DHA and is therefore especially beneficial for vegans. If you can’t stomach seaweed you might like to look into a microalgae supplement, such as Neuromins, which contains a concentrated vegetable source of DHA.