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How to Eat More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
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Get Your Omega-3s

April 22, 2021

What if you heard there were foods you could eat that might help you reduce inflammation, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, improve your immune system function and muscle and bone health, and even reduce your risk of cognitive decline?

a bottle and glass of milk, some brown eggs, and several pieces of sliced bread

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, certain nuts, flax seeds, certain oils and some leafy vegetables have been linked to many of these positive effects. According to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, omega-3s provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, the contraction and relaxation of artery walls, inflammation and more. They’ve been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke and may help control certain autoimmune conditions and protect against cancer.

According to the UW Medicine Memory & Brain Wellness Center, people who eat a diet low in omega-3 fatty acids are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and patients with Alzheimer’s have low levels of these fatty acids in their brains. While this doesn’t prove low omega-3s cause Alzheimer’s or higher levels are protective, it’s an area scientists are studying further.  

How to Get More Omega-3s In Your Diet 

Fish and other seafood are the richest sources of the omega-3s known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Good sources include:

  • Anchovy
  • Catfish (farmed)
  • Clams
  • Cod (Atlantic)
  • Crab
  • Halibut
  • Lobster
  • Mahi mahi
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Pollock (Alaskan)
  • Salmon (wild)
  • Salmon (farmed)
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • Swordfish
  • Trout
  • Tuna (albacore)
  • Tuna (light, skipjack) 

If you’re a vegetarian, don’t like seafood or are just looking for other ways to incorporate omega-3s into your diet, add these foods to your shopping list:

  • Flaxseed (grain and oil)
  • Chia seeds
  • Certain greens (kale, spinach, watercress)
  • Cruciferous vegetables, like brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower
  • Canola oil
  • Walnuts (nut and oil)
  • Soybeans and tofu
  • Oatmeal
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Eggs
  • Breads, cereals or tortillas fortified with omega-3s
  • Fortified milks, yogurt and juices
  • Peanut butter
  • Cod liver oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Mustard oil 

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