Maybe you’ve heard people talking about the health benefits of fish oil. It’s been touted by organizations like the American Heart Association for its ability to lower blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are what give fish oil its reported health benefits.

But according to a 2006 review from the British Medical Journal, fish oil may not actually be as beneficial as some believe. And while supplements can help you get omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, but may have side effects like an upset stomach or higher levels of LDL cholesterol.


Did you know you can also get omega-3s through plant-based sources? Vegetarians and vegans can eat foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which the body can then convert into DHA and EPA.

So, if you’re avoiding fish oil for diet or ethical reasons, here are some heart-healthy alternatives to get omega-3 fatty acids.

1. Flaxseeds


Flaxseed oil is the best plant-based source of ALA. You can find it at larger grocery stores, and it’s great for replacing other oils in salad dressing. Try it in this Balsamic Vinaigrette, replacing the olive oil with flaxseed oil!


You can also just eat flaxseeds to get similar benefits as flaxseed oil. Try eating flaxseeds in this Homemade Golden Flax Seed Milk or these Golden Flax Seed Crackers!

2. Walnuts



Walnuts are another rich source of ALA. Try using walnut oil in the dressing for this Chopped Salad With Apple Chipotle Vinaigrette, replacing the olive oil with walnut oil.

You can get the health benefits of walnuts by adding crunchy walnuts to a variety of dishes including desserts and salads. Try this Walnut Taco Meat and this Tamari Walnut Salad With Black Beans to get more walnuts in your diet!

3. Soy


A staple for many vegans, tofu, and fortified soy milk can be additional sources of omega-3s in addition to their protein content.

Try spicing up your tofu with this Tandoori Tofu and this Dubu Jorim: Korean Spicy Braised Tofu. For a tasty use for soymilk, take a look at this Creamy Soy Milk Ramen.

4. Algae



Instead of taking fish oil, why not get your omega-3s from where fish get theirs? According to Consumer Lab, algal oil’s omega-3s are actually less likely to be contaminated because algae is lower on the food chain.

Algal oil can be expensive, however, so it may not be the best option for everyone! You can try getting some algae in your diet from spirulina with this Coconut Spirulina Superfood Smoothie.

5. Chia Seeds


Like flax seeds, chia seeds are also a good source of omega-3s for a plant-based diet. According to Healthline, gram for gram, chia seeds have more omega-3s than salmon.

Get some chia seeds in your diet with this Maple Cinnamon Chia Bowl and this Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding!

Looking to get your omega-3s from plant-based supplements? Take a look at this Deva Nutrition LLC – Vegan Liquid DHA-EPA or these DEVA Vegan Vitamins Vegan DHA made from algae. You could also check out this Swanson Flaxseed Oil and this La Tourangelle Roasted Walnut Oil.

Looking for more info on plant-based eating? Download the Food Monster App. With over 10,000 recipes, it’s available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. Full of allergy-friendly recipes, subscribers gain access to new recipes every day.

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