How to get enough omega-3 fatty acids on a vegan diet — Plantiful Coach

What are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids?

What should a vegan do?

  1. Make sure you’ve got a varied diet with sufficient protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, to maximise omega-3 conversion and protect the long-chain fatty acids from oxidation.
  2. Lower the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, aiming for a 2:1 to 4:1 ratio. Reduce your use of oils high in omega-6 (e.g. sunflower, grapeseed and sesame oil), avoid refined convenience foods that rely on oils high in omega-6 (e.g. margarines, store-bought cookies and salad dressings), and limit your intake of high-omega-6 seeds (e.g. sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds).
  3. Be aware of factors that inhibit omega-3 conversion, and try to reduce them. Smoking, poor nutrition, high alcohol consumption, very high-fat diets, and trans-fatty acids all contribute to lower conversion rates.
  4. Make a point of adding sources of ALA (short-chain omega-3) to your daily diet. Instead of sunflower oil (which is high in omega-6), use canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil (high in omega-3), and eat a tablespoon or two of seeds rich in omega-3 (flaxseeds are great, but make sure to grind them first — whole flax tends to go right through your body without being digested).
  5. Finally, if you want to be extra safe, go and get a supplement. A combination of DHA and EPA is recommended, and it should be quality-controlled and toxin-free. 100 to 300 mg a few times a week should be adequate. (Pregnant women will need 200 to 300 mg per day.)

The long and short of it all (sorry, couldn’t resist)

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