Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3, the unsaturated fat that just won’t stop hitting the health headlines because it is so good for us. What what if you're looking for a way to incorporate omega-3 fatty acid into your diet but don't like salmon, or don't even eat fish? We look at some of the salmon alternatives available.
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Why is omega-3 so good for us?
It is believed that omega-3 helps protect against dementia, and a study published in medical journal Neurology even found that if we’re lacking in omega-3s our brains actually age faster. Other research published in medical journal Menopause found that women who ingested extra omega-3 were less likely to suffer with menopause-related symptoms.
Many studies have shown the benefits of the fat on protecting against heart disease, too. This is why nutritionists now recommend eating two to three servings of omega-3-rich fish each week.
Healthy fats: the fats that are good for your health
How to get omega-3 if you don't like fish
So what do you do if you don’t like the pink fish? Well, salmon is one of the best sources – a 100g serving can give you around 2,000mg of omega-3, so it’s hard to beat. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get omega-3 from other foods, you just need to take care to ensure you get enough.
Of course, there’s always the option of supplements but they can be pricey and you might prefer to ingest your vitamins via the natural source, ie food. If that’s the case, then read on to find out some other good sources of the healthy fats. While there’s no common consensus on exactly how much omega-3 we need to be eating to enjoy the benefits, nutritionists suggest aiming for 500mg per day.
Flax and chia seeds
Flax (linseed) and chia are tiny little dark seeds packed full of omega-3, but because they’re so tiny and hard they’re difficult to break down by chewing. So grind the chia and flax up before putting them in a smoothie or adding to your cereal, or simply eating them. Or you can use flax seed oil in salads and cooking, instead. Just two tablespoons of flax seeds will give you nearly 60% of your daily amount of omega-3.
The health benefits of seeds
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Mung, kidney and pinto beans
If the strong flavour of fish is what puts you off you should be fine with the milder taste of beans and they are rich in omega-3, with a cup of mung beans (around 75g) containing 603mg. Make your own baked beans with them, add them to a soup or stew, or cook them and stick them into the blender. Once blended into a purée you can eat them like that, add them to soups or sauces, or fry them to make crunchy bean fritters.
Eggs are a quick and easy way to make sure you’re getting your omega-3s, and they're tasty too. Eggs do contain cholesterol, though, so if you’re on a cholesterol-controlled diet keep your intake to a minimum and focus on other sources as well.
10 healthy reasons to eat more eggs
Pumpkin or acorn squash
Pumpkins and squash don’t pack the same omega-3 punch as the same amount of fish but a cup full of cooked squash will still give you a healthy 340mg. Added to that, they’re low in calories but contain lots of liquid and fibre, so ideal if you’re watching your waistline.
Salmon certainly isn’t the only fish in the sea that’s full of omega-3. Other cold-water fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines, trout, Alaskan halibut and sea bass are all examples of fish that offer similar quantities of the healthy fat. But even if it’s fish in general you can’t stomach, you still have other options – oysters and clams, for example.
10 healthy reasons to eat more fish
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