Fish oil has several nutritional values that can make your diet complete. It’s oil which is extracted from fish tissue
Table of Contents
- Oils Rich in Omega-3
- Omega Supplements
- DHA Supplements
- Final Thoughts
But how does a vegan or a vegetarian person get their fill of omega-3 fatty acids?
The good thing is these fatty acids are also available in different varieties in some algae and plant sources. The types found in fish are called DHA and EPA and are known to have greater health benefits than ALA, which is found in vegetable oils, plants, some seeds and leafy vegetables like spinach. While you can include vegan foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, there are also supplements you can try to make up for the lack of it in your diet. The following are some of the best vegan alternatives to fish oil.
Several popular cuisines use fish oil to enhance taste and add flavor. Most store-bought Thai curry paste has some quantity of fish oil unless it says so otherwise. But if you want to take fish oil out of your diet but still use an oil that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, there are several alternatives.
Flax oil is extremely beneficial for health. It has the highest content of alpha-linolenic acid available from a plant source. This is a form of omega-3 fatty acid which the body can convert in small amounts to more active forms of the fatty acid, like DHA and EPA.
Flaxseed oil is perishable so ensure you keep it refrigerated. It is also not advisable to cook with flaxseed oil as applying heat to the oil may convert the good fat into unhealthy fat. It’s best used as a salad dressing or on bread after it has been baked. Alternately, you can use whole flax seeds in bread dough or as a garnish on your meals. Here are some flax oils you can purchase online:
You can buy Barlean’s Fresh Organic Flax Oil on Amazon for $16.99. It’s a freshly cold-pressed, unrefined oil that retains all the benefits of flax seeds. It’s high in ALA omega-3 fatty acid (7,230mg/tablespoon) and is gluten-free as well as kosher-free. The product is non-GMO verified, so you know it’s been derived only from the purest flax seeds. Great to simply take a spoon or two a day or mix in salads, smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, etc!
If you think taking supplements is easier than using flax oil in your meals, you can try NatureWise Organic Flaxseed Oil. The product is available on Amazon for $14.99. It is high on ALA content (720 mg ALA omega-3 fatty acids/softgel). The oil is extracted from non-GMO flax seeds by cold-pressing. Since no heat is applied during the process of extraction, the nutrients in the complex are preserved. Include in your diet for better cognitive function, a healthy heart and great hair, skin and nails!
Walnut oil is another alternative to fish oil you can try. It typically has 1.4 grams of ALA/tablespoon and fulfills the adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids in adult females though it may still fall short of adequate for adult males.
Eating walnuts have shown other benefits for males, however, like an increase in sperm health and fertility. Typically used in salad dressings instead of cooking (for reasons similar to flax oil), a few tablespoons of walnut oil a day can do wonders. Here are some oils you can purchase online:
The product is available on Amazon for $17.99. It’s rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as phytonutrients that are great for the brain. The oil is vegan, gluten-free and has no preservatives. One or two tablespoons a day in your salad, soup or pasta will be great. It also does wonders if applied to skin and hair.
This product is available on Amazon for $14.99. Its cold-pressed method of extraction means the fats remain healthy. It can be used even for massage and aromatherapy. The oil is great to taste, according to customer reviews. It has a fragrant, nutty aftertaste. Use liberally in your pesto paste or in a salad or simply consume a tablespoon out of the bottle.
If oils are not for you, you can try omega-3 supplements.
There are several vegan options available online which provide the same nutrition as the oils mentioned above. Here are some you can try:
This supplement is available on Amazon at $20.85. It has all the benefits of fish oil but without the fish. The capsules are 100 percent organic and the nutrients are conveniently released in your body so they can be absorbed properly. The omega-3 fatty acids are derived from plant-based algae and have no risk of being contaminated by impurities in the fish’s diet.
This product is available on Amazon for $15.50. These 100 percent vegan omega fatty acids are derived from plant and seed sources. Each capsule has 500 mg of omega-3, 180 mg of omega-6 and 680 mg of omega-9 – so you’re getting a whole cocktail of nutrition in just a tiny capsule. This advanced 5-in-1 omega matrix combines the goodness of flaxseed oil, olive oil, borage oil, pomegranate oil and Sacha Inchi oil.
This product is available on Amazon for $23.76 (60 counts) and $42.46 (120 counts). Derived from microalgae, the original source of marine omega-3, the supplement is certified vegetarian and is also suitable for vegan individuals. The oil used in the supplements are one of the few algae oils that are rich in EPA. It’s a great choice for your vision, brain, respiration and of course, your vegan heart.
This product is available on Amazon for $49.99. Obtained from live-sourced microalgae, this supplement is great for your cognitive health. It also contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid from algal oil) and provides all the nutrients that fish oil does but with perfectly vegan qualities. There are no fillings, preservatives or artificial colors in the supplements. They are certified safe and are individually tested to ensure maximum absorption of the highest quality of nutrition.
The above were options for omega-3 fatty acids supplements. But one of the most active omega-3 fatty acids may not always be available in high quantities in all kinds of plants. Yet there are plenty of health supplements you can try to get your daily dose of DHA and that too in a completely vegan way.
The following are some DHA supplements available online:
This product is available on Amazon for $25.14. The supplements have encapsulated DHA and EPA oil that has a delayed release mechanism so there’s no aftertaste. The product is certified by the vegan society and uses several other ingredients derived from non-animal sources. These include vegan capsule (cellulose), organic orange oil, mixed tocopherols, silica, high oleic sunflower oil and rosemary extract among other things. Since the algae it’s derived from grows outside the ocean, there is no risk of the oils being contaminated with ocean-borne toxins like PCBs and dioxins.
This product is available on Amazon for $22.95. You can bid adieu to unpleasant fish burps with these organic, vegan DHA supplements. What’s more, these supplements have eight times more DHA content than krill oil. Who says being vegan does not pay off? Each capsule contains 350 mg of algal DHA, 350 mg of omega-3 and 20 mg of omega-6 essential fatty acids. The oil is derived from farm-raised algae and is devoid of ocean-borne toxins like PCBs. Antioxidants like astaxanthin and non-GMO sunflower phospholipids are also included in the equation to give you a nourishing, unique, vegan supplement.
This product is available on Amazon for $29.99 (4 oz) and $49.99 (8 0z). It’s a great and tasty way to present your body with DHA and EPA if you don’t want to pop the capsules. Built with a vegan formula, this is a super Omega+ liquid concentrate for adults. It’s gluten-free, contains no sugar and comes in an easily administered liquid dosage format. It’s formulated using 100 percent vegetarian algal sources of omega-3s which have a 2:1 ratio of DHA:EPA. There are also vitamins D3 and E and MCTs from coconut oil included in the formula.
Astaxanthin is a great antioxidant that is found naturally in some plants and animals. It is commonly found in seafood and gives salmon and lobster the red hue. It’s also the reason flamingos have pink feathers.
It’s described as a carotenoid or an organic pigment that gives flora and fauna their natural colors. Astaxanthin does have several health benefits, like reducing inflammation and oxidation in the body which in turn makes it useful in treatment for several ailments like cancer, Alzheimer’s, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. There have, however, been some reports of astaxanthin causing side effects like hindering an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. This may lead to testosterone not converting to DHT in the body. Further research needs to be conducted to understand the repercussions of this but other supplements and medicines which have a similar impact on the enzyme are known to cause lower libido, erectile dysfunction and male breast growth. Whether astaxanthin is suitable for you or not will be best decided by your doctor. Several supplements are available online:
This product is available on Amazon for $38.75. The supplement is made with proprietary natural astaxanthin found in plants. Each capsule has 6 mg of natural astaxanthin and 20 mg of natural tocotrienol. The supplement is great for cardiovascular and immune health. It is formulated especially for healthy aging. Take two capsules a day with your meals or however a physician has recommended. It is advised not to consume the supplement if you’re pregnant or have potential algal allergies.
This product is available on Amazon for $18.99. It is sourced from haematococcus pluvialis microalgae and is an entirely vegan formula. You can take it after an exhausting workout to reduce soreness. Its antioxidant properties help to reduce fatigue and stiffness. The supplement also has a higher content of astaxanthin (12 mg/capsule) so even one capsule a day is enough. It’s great for fighting skin damage from the sun, wrinkles, fine lines and signs of aging. It’s gluten-free, produced naturally and is GMP certified.
Maintaining a vegan diet can often be difficult. Several nutrients that are typically found in meat or in animal products become automatically inaccessible to those following a vegan lifestyle. But thankfully, there is more research being carried out today and more people are becoming open to this lifestyle, allowing several alternatives to come up in the market. While fish oil may enhance certain flavors in a dish and have a host of benefits that your body cannot produce on its own, there are always alternatives that can suit your sensibilities and ideologies better. Experiment with several kinds of nuts, seeds, oils and vegetables to get the right dose of omega-3 fatty acids into your body. While you’re at it, you can also discover something new about the food you’re eating or whip up something different and nutritious. It only requires an open mind!