Omega-3 is the name for a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids and considered one of the “heart healthy” types of fats. They’re named after their chemical structure, and are different to Omega-6 fatty acids. Heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce inflammation, and may support healthy ageing, too.1
Three primary Omega-3 fatty acids are common in foods - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA — commonly found in fish and shellfish)=, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is typically found in plants.1 This article presents the some of the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids to help you increase your consumption.
16 Foods High in Omega 3
Black walnuts are one plant-based source of omega-3, containing 1.7g of ALA in ½ cup serving. Nuts are also high in fibre and fat-soluble vitamins.
A common oil for frying, rapeseed oil contains 1.3g of the omega-3 ALA per tablespoon.
Catfish is a source of EPA & DHA, containing a total of 0.3g of omega-3 in a 5-ounce serving.
Just one tablespoon of chia seeds contains 7g of omega-3, making this plant-based source a super food that’s also high in protein and fibre.
Edamame, or soy beans, are a popular vegetarian source of protein and have 0.3g of omega-3 in a ½ cup serving.
One of the most well known sources of omega-3, fish oil contains 2.9g of ALA and DHA in just 1 tablespoon.
Flaxseed is a very nutritious seed, but needs to be ground to help our bodies digest and absorb the nutrients. 1 tablespoon has 1.6g of omega-3.
Halibut is a popular fish that contains 1g of omega-3 fatty acids in a 3-ounce serving, and is also high in protein.
Hemp seeds are great to add some crunch to smoothies, oatmeal, or a salad, and contain 0.9g of omega-3s in a 1 tablespoon serving.
Herring is another great marine source of omega-3s, with one 5-ounce serving containing 3.1 grams of heart-healthy fats.
Mackerel is yet another fish with heart-healthy benefits, containing 2.6 grams of DHA and EPA in just a 4-ounce serving.
Higher in Omega-3 than kidney beans, navy beans are another good vegan source of heart healthy fatty acids with 0.6g per ½ cup serving.
One of the most well known sources of heart-healthy fats, salmon contains 1.5g in a 3-ounce serving and is packed with protein.
½ cup of shrimp contains 0.4g of omega-3, which is more than other shellfish; it is also high in protein.
Soybean oil is another good vegan source of omega-3 and alternative for frying, containing 0.9g of omega-3 fatty acids in 1 tablespoon.
Also popular for its long shelf life and high-protein content, 3 ounces of canned tuna contains 0.7g of heart healthy omega-3s.
Take home message
While we know there are many health benefits to omega-3 fatty acids, it can be challenging to remember which foods contain the most of these heart-healthy fats. Focusing on fish and some plant-based foods like soybeans and kidney beans can help contribute to a heart-healthy diet. In addition to a healthy diet, some people may choose to take an Omega-3 supplement to ensure their intake is sufficient.
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.
- Ruxton, C. H. S., Reed, S. C., Simpson, M. J. A., & Millington, K. J. (2004). The health benefits of omega‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: a review of the evidence. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics, 17(5), 449-459.
- Office of Dietary Supplements. (2001). Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Health Professional Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/
Claire is a Registered Dietitian through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a board-certified Health and Wellness Coach through the International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master’s degree in Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.
Talking and writing about food and fitness is at the heart of Claire’s ethos as she loves to use her experience to help others meet their health and wellness goals.
Claire is also a certified indoor cycling instructor and loves the mental and physical boost she gets from regular runs and yoga classes. When she’s not keeping fit herself, she’s cheering on her hometown’s sports teams in Pittsburgh, or cooking for her family in the kitchen.
Find out more about Claire’s experience here.