For years, you’ve had it drilled into your head that fat should be eliminated from your diet as much as possible. However, there’s one type of fat that’s crucial to your body’s health and development. Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of your brain’s day-to-day-functioning. They help your brain maintain connections, communicate with the rest of your body, and develop the energy that it needs to stay active. Omega-3 acids also play an important role in keeping the rest of your body healthy, and have been known to reduce your risk of everything from cancer to heart disease. They’ve even been known to treat mental disorders like depression, anxiety and ADHD. In a sense, omega-3 fatty acids are the whole package: they’re a vital part of your development, and your body can’t stay healthy without them.
But despite their importance, the human body doesn’t make omega-3 fatty acids on its own. To get enough omega-3s in your diet, you have to either eat lots of omega-3-rich foods or take an omega-3 supplement. If you’ve ever seen those clear fish oil pills, they’re the standard choice for people who want to get more omega-3s in their diet. Of course, eating fish or taking fish oil pills isn’t an option for vegans. When you eliminate animal products from your diet, how can you make sure that you’re getting enough omega-3s?
How Can You Get Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet?
Omega-3s are commonly found in oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, and shellfish. You can also get omega-3s from certain nuts and seeds like walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds. Several green vegetables like spinach and avocados are rich in omega-3s, as well as plant products like tofu. Some brands of eggs are also enriched with omega-3s by feeding the hens flaxseed.
If you’re having trouble getting enough omega-3s in your diet, your first instinct might be to look for a supplement at the grocery store. However, many omega-3 supplements are made with fish oil or krill oil. To maintain your vegan lifestyle, you’ll need a supplement that’s sourced from plant-based materials like seaweed or algae.
What are the Health Benefits of Omega-3s?
The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are so extensive that it’s difficult to list them all. For starters, omega-3s play a vital role in cognitive functioning and keeping your brain alert even as you start to age. Multiple studies have shown that omega-3s play a part in slowing degenerative brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Omega-3s also benefit you in your day-to-day life by maintaining the trillions of neuron connections in your brain. Once you start eating foods rich in omega-3s, you’ll notice an improvement in memory and concentration. Studies have even shown that omega-3s can ease the symptoms of debilitating conditions like depression and ADHD.
Omega-3 fatty acids also play an important role in keeping your body healthy. A diet rich in omega-3s reduces the risk of a wide range of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. Omega-3s can also treat certain physical conditions like lupus, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. Pregnant woman are often advised to take omega-3 supplements to ensure healthy fetal development and maintain the health of the mother.
What are Vegan Omega 3 Supplements Made From?
Vegan omega 3 supplements are typically made from algae. However, some brands are made from a combination of oils that contain omega-3s, including flaxseed and sunflower seed. These supplements come in a pill form just like a traditional fish oil capsule.
Is Vegan Omega 3 Just as Effective as Traditional Omega 3?
Vegan omega 3 is just as effective as taking a traditional omega-3 supplement, if not more. The only difference is the source of the mineral–while traditional supplements use fish oil, vegan supplements use algae or plant-based oils. Studies have shown that the algae-based supplements are the closest in comparison to fish oil tablets. Vegan omega 3 algae supplements are typically much more environmentally-friendly and sourced using sustainable methods.
Why Not Just Take Fish Oil Pills?
Fish oil is typically marketed as a by-product of the fishing industry. While you’re against eating fish, you might wonder if fish oil is acceptable for vegans. If fish aren’t killed directly for the oil, why not use it? Surely that’s better than letting the oil got to waste.
Unfortunately, the fish oil industry is much crueler than the media leads us to believe. Contrary to popular belief, thousands of fish are slaughtered every year specifically for their oil. In the case of small fish like sardines and anchovies, entire schools of fish are captured and killed so the oil can be extracted from their bodies. Some fish are captured from the ocean, while others are raised in aquafarms where they spend their entire lives in cramped, disease-ridden conditions.
While fish are typically portrayed as “stupid” or “emotionless” animals, fish are actually intelligent creatures who are capable of feeling pain, stress, and fear. Most fish are slaughtered while they’re still alive, with no regard given to their pain and trauma. Many fish are also capable of building friendships and forming families with other fish in their group, which are torn apart when the fish are kidnapped from the ocean. Fish also have memories and can even recognize individual humans. In essence, fish are sentient creatures with feelings and relationships similar to humans, and killing a fish is an act of murder against an innocent animal.
Where Can I Buy Vegan Omega-3 Supplements?
You might be able to find algae-based supplements at your local health food store. If not, you can find plenty of brands for sale online. We’ve compiled a handy list of some of the best brands here on our website. These products have been used, reviewed, and evaluated by vegans just like yourself. Take a look at the products, try one or two for yourself, and add a review to let the community know what you think.
Is Taking Vegan Omega-3 Supplements Just as Good as Eating Omega-3 Rich Foods?
Taking vegan omega-3 supplements can help you get the nutrients you need to keep your brain active and your body healthy. But time and time again, studies have shown that there’s no replacement for eating a balanced diet. A daily pill can help you get the nutrients you need, but it’s not a substitute for a vegetable with omega 3. Fresh seeds and vegetables don’t just have omega-3s–they’re also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to give you energy and keep your body functioning. Because let’s face it: taking supplements won’t help you much if the rest of your diet is dominated with junk food.
There’s nothing wrong with taking supplements, but instead of making it the centerpiece of your diet, use it to supplement a healthy diet with naturally omega-3-rich foods like spinach, walnuts, chia seeds, avocados, and flaxseed. Taking too many nutrients can also be dangerous, so make sure you consult a doctor before you start taking any supplements. In the end, it’s best to get as many nutrients as possible from the food that you eat.