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The word “fat” can strike up fear in many people. However, there are fats that we shouldn’t be afraid of. Omega essential fatty acids are one of those fats.  Omega 3, 6 and 9 are polyunsaturated fats, which are good fats, rather than saturated and trans fats.  Each omega plays an important role in your body. Omega 3 or alpha linolenic acid (ALA) plays an important role in brain function and may help in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and certain kinds of cancers.  Omega 3 is found in many fish free food sources such as flaxseed, walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds and soya beans.  Omega 6 or linolenic acid which is converted into Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) by the body, is easy to find as it is in many foods such as nuts, seeds and oils.  Since omega 6’s are found in many foods that we consume, most of us have a imbalanced ratio of omega 6’s to 3’s.  The recommended ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 is 1:4 or 1:1, and having the right balance is important to keep inflammation at bay.  Omega 9’s are the most abundant and unlike 3’s and 6’s omega 9’s are not considered essential because our bodies make omega 9.  Omega 9 is found in animal fats and vegetable oil for us green monsters — olive oil being the mostly widely recognized.

Check out these top fish free sources of omega’s 3, 6‘s and 9 with recipes:

Top Omega 3 and 6 Sources

Flax seeds and Flaxseed Oil  – Flaxseeds have 20.3 grams of omega 3 (ALA) per 100g of flax and 4.6 omega 6 (GLA) per 100g of flax.   Flax oil – Flax Linseed oil has 58 grams of omega 3 per 100g. Here are some great recipes to increase your flax intake Chamomile Ginger Lemon Raw Energy Bars; Yummy Fruit Pancakes; Gluten Free Mocha Ice Cream Sandwiches

Walnuts and Walnut Oil – Walnuts have 3 grams of omega 3 (ALA) per 100g of walnuts and 30.6 grams of omega 6 (GLA) per 100g.  Walnut oil has 11.5 grams of omega 3’s (ALA) per 100g and 58 grams of omega 6 (GLA) per 100g.  Check out these delicious walnut recipes:  Walnut Squash and Apple Bread; Grilled Cherries and Vanilla Bean Walnut Cream; Fig Cardamom Walnut Scones with Cashew Cream

Hemp Seeds – Hemp seeds have 7 grams of omega 3 (ALA) per 100g of hemp seeds and 21 grams of omega 6 (GLA) per 100g.  Creamy Hemp Pesto ; Cheezy Kale Salad;

Chia Seeds – Are another great fish free source of omega 3 (ALA) and 6 (GLA).  They have a ratio of 3:1 Omega 3 to Omega 6. Breakfast Parfait with Oats and Blueberry PuddingEnergizing Chia Pudding; Seeds and Goji Berry Granola

Pumpkin Seeds – Pumpkin seeds have 3.2 grams of omega 3 (ALA) per 100g and 23.6 grams of omega 6 (GLA)per 100g of pumpkin seeds.  Pumpkin Nut Muffins; Roasted Acorn Squash; Smokey Pumpkin Grits with Maple Roasted Pepitas

Soy Beans – Soy beans have 1.2 gram of omega 3 (ALA) per 100g and 8.6 grams of omega 6 (GLA) per 100g of soya beans.  

Top Omega 6 Sources 

Safflower, Grapeseed, Corn Oil and seasame seeds all have omega 6 (GLA), but no omega 3’s (ALA)or just a trace amount.  Summertime scramble; Homemade Tahini; Sesame Tofu and Broccoli Salad 

Top Omega 9 Sources

Olive oil, canola oil and sunflower oil contain particularly high levels of omega 9. 1.5 tablespoons of any of these can deliver more than 70% of the daily requirement of omega 9.  Artichoke and Olive Pizza; Quinoa with Secret Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Please consultant with Health Care Professional to determine adequate requirement of Omega 3, 6 and 9’s.

Image Source: Liz Davenport/Flickr

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