Veganuary, plant burgers that taste like beef burgers, the McVegan burger, animal friendly fashion, cheese that isn’t really cheese… with over half a million vegans in the UK (that’s three and a half times the estimated number in 2006), veganism is set to take over the world.
For those sitting in the beginner's class of veganism, a vegan diet is void of any products derived wholly or partly from animals. So - considering the average Brit's diet is already lacking in oily fish and therefore omega 3 - following a vegan diet might leave your body especially open to a shortage in this nutrient.
Your choice of diet is unique to you and, at Healthspan, we relish vegetarians, vegans and meat lovers alike. But with the restriction of certain foods comes the potential restriction of certain nutrients and - while it's possible to get creative with your diet - we all need a helping hand once in a while.
If you want to yield the health benefits of vegan omega 3 but need some inspiration, we've got you covered. Here are the top five sources and how to make use of them:
Vegan omega 3 sources
These moreish nuts are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and are really easy to incorporate into your diet. Try mixing them into your granola for breakfast.
With a hectic schedule, it's not always possible to plan ahead and incorporate the right foods into your diet. But supplements can provide reassurance when you're in need of a top up.
3. Rapeseed oil
Rapeseed oil is a fantastic source of omega 3 containing ten times the amount that olive oil does. Try it drizzled on salads for a change.
4. Brussels Sprouts
Believe it or not Brussels sprouts aren't just for Christmas. In season from January until March, these veggies are a surprising source of omega 3 and can be shredded into salads as opposed to just served with a main meal. Unlike many other vegetables their omega 3 content triples when they're cooked.
Hemp seeds are comprised of about 30% oil that includes omega 3 fatty acids. And if you'd prefer not to outright buy hemp seeds - hemp oil (which is simply hemp seeds compressed) - is an easy option.
What are the health benefit of omega 3?
Omega 3 fatty acids are so important for health that the shortest-chain omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is classed as essential - you can't make it so must ensure it comes from your diet. The longer-chain omega-3s, EPA and DHA, can be made from alpha-linolenic acid in the body, but these conversions are inefficient so that EPA and DHA are often in short-supply.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for heart, brain and eye health, and have anti-inflammatory actions. A daily omega-3 supplement is an easy way to help ensure you are not deficient for those who are not willing to eat more oily fish, or whom have dietary restrictions.