While you’re busy counting calories, making sure to get enough protein, and watching your carbs, there’s another macronutrient you may be ignoring: healthy fats.
These nutrients are just as important as energy-sustaining carbs and muscle-building protein. In fact, omega fatty acids are essential to keeping your body working at it’s best. Without them in your diet, you’d face issues with your hormones, brain functions, and immune and cardiovascular systems. Yikes!
When it comes to omegas, most of us are getting far too much omega 6 fatty acids and not enough omega 3, as Dr. Mercola points out. Now, this may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it’s actually a lot more serious than choosing between fat-free and whole milk.
As Dr. Mercola warns:
“Many scientists believe that a major reason for the high incidence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, premature aging, and some forms of cancer is the profound imbalance between our intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.”
But, let’s face it: Nutrition is complex and most of us are dealing with schedules that only get more jam packed as the week progresses. So I can understand why we struggle to get the right balance of healthy omegas. After all, who has time to count this stuff?
Lucky for you, I’ve found a few simple ways to add more omegas to your diet—and I’ll be sharing my favorite tips in today’s article.
If you need a crash course in omegas before you start adding them to your diet, I encourage you to check out this article that I published as the perfect beginner guide. If you’re all caught up, let’s get going!
First Stop: Breakfast
If you’re a regular reader (which I hope you are), you’re probably already familiar with my egg obsession. I eat and thoroughly enjoy eggs everyday—no joke. I feel like my mornings start off on the right foot when I have them for breakfast and I can’t say that about a lot of other foods.
So don’t believe the hype about eggs being unhealthy for you; they’re not a cholesterol nightmare as some once thought.
A few years back, I was introduced to eggs that contained omega-3s and I’ve been hooked ever since. These super eggs occur when hens are fed a diet rich in foods like flaxseed and fish oil, which gives you the awesome omega boost when you eat them.
The flavor is exactly the same as an omega-free egg. Plus, the price difference is comparable to other brands you’re probably already buying so your wallet won’t notice a difference either.
Now, having fish for breakfast may sound a little weird at first, but when it comes to smoked salmon, I promise you’ll change your mind.
When you go for thinly sliced smoked salmon, a mere 3-ounce service will be enough to deliver 41% of the RDA of omega-3s for women and 28% for men, according to SFGate.
Plus, this same amount gives you as much as 15 g of protein for only 99 calories—talk about a perfect choice for any time of the day. This amazing protein and omega combo will help you lose weight while also supporting your brain and heart health.
Just be careful not to overdo this tasty treat since it is still high in calories.
Enjoy These Throughout the Day
Everyday I’m pleasantly surprised by how nutrient dense chia seeds are.
For such a small amount, you’ll see benefits such as:
- Regulated blood sugar levels
- Improved digestion
- Reduced cholesterol levels
- Weight loss
- Reduced inflammation
Despite how tiny these seeds are, a mere 1 oz serving gives you 4,915 mg of omega 3s. Now that’s impressive!
To weave them into your healthy diet, I like to sneak chia seeds into my oatmeal and my smoothies.
For smoothies, I’ll soak the seeds for ten minutes before adding them to my blender. I learned this trick from my friends over at Simple Green Smoothies. By doing this, the seeds become more gelatinous and easier to blend and digest.
If I’m craving something more decadent, but don’t want to ruin my hard work for the day with dessert, I’ll whip up a batch of Rachel’s chia mousse from Avocado a Day Nutrition. This satisfying snack is made of both chia seeds and avocado— a double healthy win!
You can also find great chia pudding recipes on Pinterest.
If you’re not a fan of fish or eggs, you could also sneak more omegas into your diet by eating more flaxseeds.
Keep in mind that flaxseeds are similar to corn because the whole seeds can go undigested and pass right through your system. To reap all the benefits, be sure to ground up the seeds first before you enjoy them.
Speaking of which, once you ground up your flaxseed, you can throw it in your smoothies or greek yogurt and even top your salad with it. The taste is mostly neutral, but you may notice a slight nutty flavor.
Hemp seeds are one of those foods that doesn’t get enough credit for being a healthy allstar.
As Dr. Axe points out, hemp seeds can balance your hormones while also improving your metabolism and digestion.
Plus, these nutritious seeds deliver a healthy dose of omega 3s to omega 6s in a 3:1 ratio, according to Dr. Axe, which is crucial since most of us tend to get too many omega 6s and not enough 3s.
Women trying to prevent osteoporosis should add hemp seeds to their diet starting right now. Thanks to the magnesium found in hemp seeds, you’ll have the benefits of osteoporosis prevention, blood sugar control, and reduced stress and blood pressure levels.
To add them to your diet, reach for either unshelled hemp seeds or shelled seeds (called hemp hearts), which can be found at your local grocery store or nearest health food store. Unshelled varieties will have a bit more protein since you’re not losing the valuable nutrients found in the shell.
You can also add hemp protein powder or hemp oil to your omega-boosting repertoire, too. The powder can be used in smoothies or for baking; the hemp oil can be used for salad dressings or low-heat cooking.
Nuts are awesomely good for you. They provide a boost of nutrients, protein, and fiber to ward off certain cancers, reduce cholesterol levels, aid in weight loss, and help strengthen your immune system, just to name a few healthy benefits.
Nuts even help you live longer, according to this study conducted by Harvard researchers.
But the stand-out nut we’re highlighting today is the walnut. Its omega count is insane—2500 mg for just 1 oz!
Walnuts will also help:
- Support brain health
- Decrease your vulnerability to oxidative stress (reduce free radicals)
- Enhance cognitive and motor functioning as you age
To incorporate more walnuts in your diet, chop a few raw ones up and add them to your oatmeal, Greek yogurt, salads, and on-the-go snack bags.
Another favorite food of mine, I eat half an avocado everyday. Whether I add it to my sandwich, salad, eggs, or even smoothies, I can’t imagine life without this tasty green fruit.
Similar to nuts, avocados can help you lose weight, improve digestion, lower cholesterol levels, and protect you from cancer. If you want the full lowdown on avocados, check out this article and prepare to be an avocado devotee.
Avocados may not have an omega 3 count that’s as high as some of the other foods on our list, but with all of its benefits, it’s still worth weaving into your diet.
What About Dinner?
Reach for Mackerel or Herring
These two fish (on top of sardines and salmon) offer some of the highest omega 3 counts around.
Similar to salmon, these two fish boast benefits such as:
- Anticarcinogenic compounds that help fight free radicals (Coenzyme Q10)
- Fortified immune system
- Improved brain and cardiovascular health
- Efficient nerve impulse signaling
- Improved memory and cognitive performance
To add more mackerel to your diet, try cooking it in a healthy oil at least once a week.
Most people choose to take a fish oil or omega 3 fatty acid supplement because they have no idea that adding more omega 3s to your diet is this easy.
There’s really no excuse for having your omega 3/omega 6 ratio out of whack. Find and try a few foods I mentioned today to help you balance your ratio and give your body enough omega 3s to truly thrive.
You don’t want an omega 3 deficiency; you’ll be opening the doors for some serious health complications to walk right on in. Don’t let this happen to you when there are this many tasty options available.
Which foods on our list will you be adding to your healthy diet this week? I’d love to hear how you incorporated them in!
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