Quoted from Foods For Life:
Good omega 3 food sources
Nuts, seeds and their oils are good sources of the omega 3 and 6 parent fats and hemp seed also contain some pre-converted GLA. They do not however contain the vital EPA and DHA. Fish with omega 3 fatty oil are able to make these fats from the algae they eat and so provide an excellent source to those who eat omega 3 fish oil. We can of course eat the algae ourselves and chlorella and spirulina provide valuable sources of these converted fats as well as a whole host of other nutrients. If you don’t eat algae then you need to rely on your body’s efficiency in converting the fats itself. There are many ways you can support this conversion .
Optimise your omega 3 essential fatty acid levels
- Have a daily intake of nuts, seeds and their omega 3 6 9 oils.
- Include an algae / alga (spirulina or chlorella) drink 4 times a week.
- Include good sources of the nutrients which aid essential fat conversion – zinc, magnesium, calcium, biotin and vitamins B6, B3 and C.
- Avoid things which inhibit conversion; alcohol, saturated and trans fats (from animal foods and processed foods), smoking, caffeine, viral infections, stress and excess intake of vitamin A and copper.
- Balance your intake of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Due to the widespread use of sunflower oil in food manufacturing we tend to have a much greater intake of omega 6 to 3 fats in our diets. This imbalance can lead to the conversion enzymes getting used up for omega 6, restricting omega 3 conversion. The ideal balance is around 3 to 4 parts omega 6 to one of omega 3.
- Buy your seed oils cold-pressed and from the fridge in your health shop. Also buy in small quantities so it remains fresh. At home store them in the fridge and use them cold. If heating oils use olive or coconut oil.
- Some people may have less of the conversion enzymes and may need to be strict with the above nutrient supporters and inhibitors. These people include those with atopic allergies (asthma, eczema and hay fever which run in the family) and those with diabetics.
- Take an algae-based DHA supplement when planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breast-feeding.
- Have an essential fatty acid test to determine your specific needs and if your diet is meeting these.