We all know that we can stock up on our beloved omega-3 fatty acids by chowing down on salmon and walnuts, but if you’re looking to amp up the omegas in your diet (or if the thought of salmon tar-tar makes you queasy), try some of these more surprising sources.
Omega-3s reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, give benefits to the skin, boost the immune system, and control inflammation (which in turn helps out our joints, bloodstream, and tissues). And most of us don’t get enough.
The Other Fish: Sardines
Yes, sardines are oily. Yes, they come tightly packed in a can. Yes, you probably thought they were gross as a kid. But you’re all grown up now, so give them a try—they’re not as fishy as you think.
One 3.25-ounce can of sardines contains over half of your daily recommended omega-3s. And when drained and layered between two slices of good bread with mayonnaise, chopped cornichons, avocado slices, curly frisée lettuce, a sliced hardboiled egg, with a little salt and pepper, you’ll be loving your omega-packed lunch.
The Tex-Mex Gem: Avocados
Did you just put a sliced avocado on that sardine sandwich? We thought so. Turns out, the bright green “alligator pear” is another rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, which rings in at about 160 milligrams per cup. If you’ve also got salt, a lime, and a fork, you’re about 45 seconds away from a delicious bowl of fresh guacamole.
The Saucy Seeds: Flax and Chia
Flax seeds are absolutely bursting with omega-3s; according to the World’s Healthiest Foods, two tablespoons of the seeds contain almost 200% of your daily requirement. You can also get the omegas in a more concentrated form from flax oil, though you’ll be missing out on flax’s fiber.
Chia has even more omega-3s packed into its tiny little seeds (about 5 grams per ounce). The seeds turn gelatinous when soaked, and can be used for all sorts of vegan deserts as an egg supplement.
Both seeds are nutty and delicious, and tossing a few spoonfuls onto your morning smoothie (or drizzling flaxseed oil into your juice—you won’t even taste it!) is an incredibly easy way to get more fatty acids into your diet.
The Unexpected Spice: Cloves
Yes, cloves. You probably only pull them out around Christmastime, when you’re filling your kitchen with dense, spicy cookies, but believe it or not, cloves are a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Two teaspoons of ground cloves hold about 7.5% of your daily requirement, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods report. Juicing apples? Add a few teaspoons of ground cloves to your juice for a spicy, cider-inspired drink to warm you up when it’s cold out. Add ground cloves to soups and curries, or sprinkle it (along with raisins and—omega alert!—walnuts) onto your morning oatmeal.
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