Omega-3 DHA sources, a specific type of fatty acid often found in the fatty tissues of some fish, are some of the most beneficial compounds we can take in for our overall health, benefiting systems big and small, from heart and brain health. But even with plenty of clinical support for the benefits of DHA-rich foods, one might still wonder: what exactly do these compounds do? And what about those that don’t eat fish? There are tons of vegan omega-3 sources to enjoy, and taking a multivitamin with omega-3 DHA can support our daily intake, too, no matter our diet preferences.*
We’re here with an essential guide to DHA sources and how to incorporate them into every lifestyle.
But What if I’m Vegan? DHA Sources for Plant-Based Diets
For vegetarians and vegans, getting DHA-rich foods in can seem challenging when the most visible DHA sources are fish like salmon. But that doesn’t mean vegans and vegetarians can’t get plenty of DHA sources from their diet. Everybody can benefit from omega-3 DHA sources, but not everyone has to approach getting them the same way.*
For plant-based eaters, there are thankfully plenty of vegan omega-3 sources out there. Nuts and seeds like walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are DHA-rich foods, as are edamame, seaweed, and algae. You can also find omega-3 DHA sources in small amounts in most greens and beans. There are limitless ways to incorporate vegan omega-3 sources into a daily diet, but here are a few non-fishy ways we get our fatty acids in:
• A cup of vegan miso soup with seaweed and tofu (bonus: probiotic support thanks to delicious fermented miso paste)
• Seaweed salad as a tasty side dish to a rice bowl or veggie-filled sushi roll with avocado
• Adding chia, hemp, or flaxseeds to a smoothie
• Snacking on walnuts throughout the day for a boost of protein and DHA
How Many DHA-Rich Foods Do I Need?
Now that we’ve reviewed how good omega-3 DHA sources are for our health, let’s get into recommendations on how much we need. The National Institutes of Health recommends consuming 1.1-1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day. To give you an idea of what that looks like, it takes about 4-5 ounces of Atlantic salmon to provide 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. We can also get omega-3 DHA from supplements containing fish oil or even microalgae, for those looking for a vegan omega-3 source. BTW, at Ritual, instead of fish oil, we use vegan algal oil in our multivitamins, which comes from the fermentation of microalgae. According to a study, the bioavailability of DHA from algal oil in a supplement appears to be the same as DHA from natural food sources, such as salmon. Microalgae allows people who don’t eat fish to reap the benefits of omega-3 DHA sources.*
Essential Supplements for Omega-3 DHA Support*
To get the most out of our diet and to amp up our DHA intake, a high-quality supplement with omega-3 DHA built in is an easy way to start. Our Essential for Women Multivitamin 18+ contains 330mg of omega-3 DHA for brain health, while our Essential Prenatal Multivitamin provides 350mg of omega-3 DHA to support the body for pregnancy and fetal brain development during pregnancy.*
Fitting omega-3 foods in our diet is no longer just a matter of eating lots of salmon (although it is a fantastic source). Vegans, vegetarians, meat-eaters, and more can all enjoy the many benefits of omega-3 DHA sources, both in a diet filled with DHA rich foods and through the support of multivitamins.