First off, you probably think of fish—particularly oily fish, such as salmon, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and tuna—when you think of omega-3s. This is absolutely fair, as higher-fat fish have some of the highest concentrations of omega-3s (EPA and DHA, to be exact). The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week to consume adequate levels of omega-3s (something 90% of Americans are failing to do).
If you’re not a big fan of fish or you’re a strict vegan, you can also consume omega-3s (specifically, plant-based ALA) through seeds, nuts, and plant oils. When it comes to seeds, hemp and flax have particularly high concentrations of ALA. If you’re looking for the nut highest in omega-3s, cashews are particularly packed with the good stuff.
Luckily, in addition to eating food sources rich in omega-3s, supplementation is a smart strategy to ensure you achieve healthy omega-3 levels daily and throughout life.* What dose should you strive for? “To maximize cardioprotective benefits, aim for 1 gram or more of EPA plus DHA, each and every day. That’s the equivalent of eating an omega-3-rich fish each day of the week. I take a high-potency omega-3 supplement to ensure my daily input of these critically important fats,”* Ferira explains.
Fish oil and other omega-3 supplements high in DHA are also a great option for pregnant women, as DHA is important for fetal growth and development, but many women choose to avoid eating bigger fish (such as salmon and tuna) due to their mercury content.*