Recently you may have seen different cereals or granolas advertise that they are “high in omega-3s.” It’s becoming a popular catchphrase these days, but what exactly are omega-3s?
Simply put, omega-3’s are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid, which is considered a good fat. When consumed in adequate amounts, they help with blood clotting and cell membranes within the brain. They’ve also been shown to help with reducing inflammation and symptoms from certain autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Your body cannot make it by itself so it must be consumed from what you eat.
The problem is that Westerners consume very little omega-3s compared to diets of the past. Traditionally, diets used to be closer to a 1:1 ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. These days, however, we consume closer to 15:1 or even 20:1 ratio, which promotes higher inflammation of the joints and swelling as well as cardiovascular diseases.
There are a lot of different sources where you can find omega-3s such as salmon and fish oils. Meats also contain omega-3s and omega-6s. It has been found that grass- and pasture-raised animals actually have a significantly better ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 than those from factory farms- another good reason to buy local farm-raised meat, dairy, and eggs!
If you are vegetarian or vegan, some great sources of omega-3s are flax seeds and chia seeds. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and romaine, are also a great source for micro doses of omega-3s and seeing as they are also incredibly low in calories and fat, you can easily consume a lot for a healthy source of omega-3s!
Nutty Blueberry Granola
Want to consume some omega-3s in a tasty way? Here’s a simple recipe for granola that is packed with lots of omega-3s from flax and hemp seeds. This granola is great to have for breakfast. All you need to do is eat with milk or serve with yogurt. If you're especially press for time, the granola on its own can make for a delicious snack on-the-go!
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
- ¼ cup ground flax
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp whole flaxseeds
- 2/3 cup dried blueberries
- 3 tbsp hemp seeds
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine oats, ground flax, whole flax, extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and salt. Stir to combine.
- Spread mixture out evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes (stirring halfway through) until granola is toasted.
- Remove from oven and allow it to cool. Toss in blueberries, hemp seeds and almonds.
- Store in an airtight container and use within a week.
Nutritional Info (per serving): 318 cal, 19g sugar, 11g fat, 10g protein, 0mg cholesterol, 205mg sodium, 250mg potassium.
Kelsey is the creative mind behind A Little Rosemary and Time. Located in Brooklyn, NY, she is a self-proclaimed “foodie”, workout addict and loves learning as much about food and nutrition as she can. She is currently working towards becoming a registered dietician and is passionate about being able to help others towards better health both mentally and physically.
Veggie photo credit: Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.com