Nourish Yourself: Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

flax seedsWe talked about the importance of omega-3 essential fatty acids to general health in the early weeks. It’s worth revisiting now because omega-3 is particularly important for pregnant women in the third trimester, and for women who are breastfeeding. These are the times when the baby’s brain is developing at an amazing rate. Babies deficient in omega-3 may have a greater risk of autism, attention deficit disorder, and depression, or adult degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

You can find omega-3 in these foods:

  • Oily, cold-water fish, such as salmon and sardines. This is probably the very best source of omega-3. Try to get a couple of servings a week. Our Wild Salmon Burger recipe (http://www.mothering.com/recipes/wild-salmon-burgers) is a delicious way to start incorporating omega-3 into your diet.
  • Canola oil
  • Flax seeds and flax seed oil: this is particularly good for non-meat eaters. Grind up flax seeds and sprinkle them on salads or vegetables, or bake them in muffins. Try to have a couple of tablespoons per day.
  • Walnuts and walnut oil
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Hemp seeds
  • Purslane, a lesser-known leafy vegetable used more commonly in the Mediterranean and in Mexico
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Fortified eggs: hens are fed a diet that contains omega-3. You can now find these in many grocery stores as well as in health food stores.