It seems these days fat is all the craze, and the most popular of all is no doubt omega-3. Why? Well, omega-6 and omega-3, stars of the polyunsaturated fatty acids, play countering roles, with omega 6 helping to provide inflammation and blood-clotting, such as in the treatment of wounds, while omega-3 reduces inflammation and is an anti-coagulant. We need both, and ideally at about a one-to-one ratio. Unfortunately, modern diets are skewed greatly in favor of omega-6, such that healthy eaters concerned with fat must seek out omega-3 (and reduce omega-6) to balance things. This is what has made eating fish or taking those fish fat pills such a high-demand habit, that could be destroying our oceans. Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on fish to get omega-3s. Here are a few plant-based choices, and some recipes to add to your repertoire, to get you started.

Seeds

Raw vegan banana hemp seed sushi slices

Source: Banana Hemp Seed Sushi Slices

Flaxseeds are probably the most well-known plant-based source of omega-3. They are rich in fiber, which translates to good digestion, and are full of omega-3 for a healthy heart. They also make a dandy egg substitute for vegan baking. Chia seeds provide a healthy dose of omega-3 as well as calcium, and hemp seeds are loaded with protein and omega-3. Other seeds like sunflower, safflower, and pumpkin have omega-3, but they have it in unfavorable ratios. Check out these articles for more info on these seeds, and try the recipes to help balance the diet: All About the Health Benefits of Flaxseeds, with Tips and RecipesAll You Need to Know about Hempseeds, and New Ways to Use Chia Seeds in Your Recipes.

Leafy GreensSpinach Salad With Barley Bacon

Source: Spinach Salad With Barley Bacon

Admittedly, dark leafy greens are not massive sources of fat in any form; however, their ratio favors omega-3, so this is yet again one more reason to get that daily intake of roughage. Romaine, arugula, spinach, and an edible weed called purslane (also good in salads) are all green givers of omega-3 fatty acids, and they all work fantastically raw. Here are some helpful recipes to keep the intake interesting: Raw Vegan Caesar Salad (substitute the above seeds in the dressing for even more omega 3), The 6 Healthiest Ways to Eat SpinachQuinoa Salad with Figs, Purslane and Goji Berries, and Arugula: Health Benefits, Tips, and Recipes.

BeansKitchari: Ayruvedic Dish for Gut Health

Source: Kitchari: Ayurvedic Dish for Gut Health

Like greens, beans don’t deliver the whopping amount of omega-3 that seeds and nuts do, but the ratio is the right way. Mungo beans top the chart with nearly fifteen times the omega-3 as omega-6. Other omega superstars from the bean brigade are navy beans, kidney beans, and the controversial soybean. Beans, of course, are a great source of fiber and plant-based protein, so this works out well for vegans. Try a few new recipes with favorable omega balance: White Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers and Cajun Corn and Kidney Bean Salad.

CabbagesSpicy Cabbage Turmeric Stew

Source: Spicy Cabbage Turmeric Stew

The whole family of cabbages tends to provide more omega-3 than omega-6, with cauliflower (not normally high on the cabbage radar) being the best provider. Broccoli, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts should also be high on this list, though they are not customarily thought of as cabbage. The classic cabbages also maintain a better, balancing ratio but not to the same degree. Nonetheless, every little bit helps, so give these dishes a go: Cauliflower Picatta10 Ways to Make Awesome Summer Slaws, and 5 Ways to Get Anyone to Love Brussels Sprouts.

Winter SquashQuinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Source: Quinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Listed time and again on best of omega-3 rundowns, winter squashes do well as a richer source of omega-3. Winter squashes include familiar favorites like acorn squash, butternut squash, and any number of pumpkins. All of these are, of course, fantastic for soups and roasting, such as in Mango Butternut Squash SoupPigeon Pea Soup with Opo Squash, and Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf.

As a last note, we should acknowledge that several nuts, particularly walnuts and pecans, have high levels of omega-3, but not nearly as high as their omega-6. Olive oil is not dissimilar, with nearly ten times the omega-6 as it has omega-3 (Try mustard oil for a better ratio, though still not balanced). Even seaweed has more omega-6 than omega-3. So, while these are high sources of the good fat we are looking for, by the ratio we are after, they are not the highest sources.

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

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