There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acid, which are called ALA, DHA, and EPA. Plant sources rich in ALA, while fish, seaweed, and algae provide DHA and EPA fatty acids.
The following types of fish are some of the best sources of these fatty acids. The serving sizes for each is 3 ounces:
- Mackerel – 0.59 g of DHA and 0.43 g of EPA
- Salmon – Farm 1.24 g of DHA & 0.59 EPA Wild 1.22 g of DHA & 0.35 g of EPA
- Seabass – 0.47 g of DHA and 0.18 g of EPA
- Oysters – 0.14 g of ALA, 0.23 g of DHA and 0.30 g of EPA
- Sardines – 0.74 g of DHA and 0.45 g of EPA
- Shrimp – 0.12 g of DHA and 0.12 g of EPA
- Trout – 0.4 g of DHA and 0.40 g of EPA
Vegetarian and vegan sources of omega-3:
Seaweed and algae – seaweed, nori, spirulina, and chlorella are different forms of algae. They are important sources of omega-3 for vegetarians because they are one of the few plant groups that contain DHA and EPA
- Chia seeds – 5.055 g of ALA per 1-oz serving
- Hemp seeds – 2.605 g of ALA in every 3 tablespoons
- Flaxseeds – 6.703 g of ALA per tablespoon
- Walnuts – 3.346 g of ALA per cup
- Edamame – a half-cup of frozen edamame beans contains 0.28 g of ALA
- Kidney beans – 0.10 g of ALA per half-cup
- Soybean oil – 0.923 g of ALA per tablespoon
- Fish oil – the most common omega-3 supplement, offering the highest available dose. Fish oil supplements include both DHA and EPA.
- Cod liver oil – rich in DHA, EPA, vitamin A and D
- Krill oil – rich in DHA and EPA
- Algae oil – for vegetarians, algae oils are an excellent source of omega-3s. However, they contain a lower dose than most fish oil supplements. Some brands include only DHA.
- ALA supplements – Flaxseed, chia seed, and hemp seed supplements contain only the plant-based omega-3 ALA, which is not sufficient on its own.
This is a fairly comprehensive list of sources rich in omega-3 fatty acids. As noted, they are essential as the human body cannot manufacture omega-3 fatty acids. However, we can convert ALA to both DHA and EPA, if our diet is clean enough. That is fortunate for vegans and vegetarians as DHA and EPA are the forms of omega-3 fatty acids most commonly used by the body.
The article doesn’t mention a recommended daily intake. I suggest a minimum of 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily with about 400 mg of DHA and EPA. You can easily meet that standard with a fresh serving of fish daily. Otherwise, I recommend a supplement daily.
Source: September 23. 2018 NIH