The oils found in fish — technically known as the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA — are
good for your heart and circulation. That's why the American Heart Association recommends
consuming them. And there's no doubt that wild Alaskan salmon is the top dietary source of these
super-healthy fats, with a hefty 2,000 mg of omega-3s in a 6-ounce serving (a piece the size of
two decks of cards). But what are your options if you just don't like salmon? Luckily, you can get
the benefits of fish oils by eating these other foods.
Long a staple of dieters, tuna contains about as much omega-3s as salmon. Don't sweat the minute
amounts of mercury if you're eating tuna only once or twice a week, but limit tuna intake if you're
pregnant. Tuna salad is fast and easy to make, and you can add diced celery, onion, carrot, or pine
nuts for a little crunch. 1,500 mg of omega-3s per 6 ounces (the amount in a typical can).
Sardines are one of the richest sources of omega-3s, and they're low on the food chain — meaning
that they don't contain much mercury or other contaminants that build up in larger fish. Opt for
sardines canned in sardine oil or olive oil, which are healthier than soybean oil. 3,000 mg omega-
3s per ounces (about the size of a typical can).
3. RAINBOW TROUT
Caught in lakes and mountain rivers (and sometimes farmed), rainbow trout has almost as much
omega-3s as Alaskan salmon. And trout is usually much less expensive. Because a trout filet is
thin, it can be quickly pan fried in a little olive oil. Cook the filet flesh side down for a minute,
then flip it over and finish it skin side down. 1,700 mg omega-3s per 6 ounces (a piece the size of
two decks of cards).
4. BLACK COD
Regular cod doesn't contain many omega-3s, but black cod — also known as sablefish — has
more omega-3s than any type of salmon. It's a delicately textured white fish that lends itself to
pan frying or broiling. 2,900 mg omega-3s per 6 ounces.
Yes, oysters are a good source of omega-3s, so long as you don't deep fry them. If you're
comfortable eating two or three raw, go ahead. Otherwise, dust them in a little flour and sauté
them in olive oil. 2,500 mg omega-3s per 6 ounces.
6. GRASS-FED BEEF
If you absolutely hate the taste of seafood, consider buying grass-fed meat. Although the amount
of omega-3s is not as high as in fish, it's a reasonable source. Cattle efficiently convert the alphalinolenic
acid in grass to biologically active omega-3s, and grass-fed beef contains two to six
times the omega-3s found in grain-fed beef. Bonus: Grass-fed beef is also less fatty than corn-fed
beef, which contains no omega-3s. Approximately 277 mg omega-3s per 6 ounces of steak.
7. OMEGA-3 ENRICHED EGGS
Doctors now recommend moderate consumption of eggs, but not all eggs are created equal. Some
chickens are fed omega-3s, yielding eggs rich in these healthy fats. Look for them at the
supermarket. Eggland's Best is one of the many brands, and contains 115 mg per egg.
What about flaxseed?
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are often touted as sources of omega-3s. Flax is rich in alpha-linolenic
acid, which the body must convert to biologically active forms of omega-3s. But your body
converts only two-tenths of 1 percent of ALA to the important omega-3s. That means you would
need to swallow 40 tablespoons of flaxseed oil or 200 capsules daily to get a beneficial amount of
omega-3s. Still, it's a boost to your daily intake and there are plenty of other benefits to eating flax
so go ahead and sprinkle some on your oatmeal or in your yogurt.
1 - Koizumi I, Suzuki Y, Kaneko JJ. 1991. Studies on the fatty acid composition of intramuscular lipids of cattle, pigs
and birds.J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 37:545-554. 2 - Rule DC, Broughton KS, Shellito SM, et al. 2002.
Comparison of muscle fatty acid profiles and cholesterol concentrations of bison, beef cattle, elk, and chicken. J Anim
Sci 80:1202-1211. 3 - Pawlosky RJ, Hibbeln JR, Novotny JA, et al. 2001. Physiological compartmental analysis of
alpha-linolenic acid metabolism in adult humans. J Lipid Res 42:1257-1265. 4 - Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, et al.
2010. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef.
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