Essential fatty acids are healthy fats our body cannot produce and thus we rely on the foods we eat to get them. You may know these better as Omega 3 and 6’s. In the common western diet, we over-consume Omega 6’s and under-consume Omega 3’s – this trend has been documented over the past 150 years. By throwing this ratio out of whack, we put ourselves at risk of a number of health issues including:
1- Heart disease and other cardiovascular problems
3- Dry skin
4- Fatigue, poor memory and concentration
5- Mood swings
People eating a non plant-based diet typically get these essential fatty acids from fish or fish oil tablets. The fish get the Omegas from the Algae they eat… from a plant.
If we look at how the diet has changed over the past 100 years our ancestors consumed far less Omega 6’s as a result of eating a less processed more whole food-based diet. I always recommend a correction in the Omega 3/6 ratio by not only considering how to get Omega 3 in the diet but how to lower your Omega 6’s, which inevitably means cleaning up your diet and moving away from processed foods, particularly seed/vegetable oils. I have further explained the case for lowering Omega 6 intake in another blog post.
Chia seeds, hemp seeds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, flaxseeds, algae oil, hemp oil, flaxseed meal, pumpkin seeds, edamame beans and sesame seeds are all good sources of a short-chain Omega 3 called ALA. Our body will convert a percentage of the ALA consumed into the super important long-chain essential fatty acids DHA and EPA. Research is now showing vegans actually adapt and get better at this conversion than people eating an animal-based diet that includes fish, which are a direct source of EPA/DHA. 
The conversion of the plant-based omega-3 ALA to the long-chain EPA and DHA may be increased in vegans and vegetarians who do not eat fish, suggest results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) .
Firstly read my other blog on Plant-Based Omega 3 sources for information on where to find these nutrients naturally within your whole food plant-based diet before considering supplementation.
Whilst not as important to supplement as B12, many vegans will use a vegan Omega 3 supplement in the form of a DHA/EPA Algae oil. This is the long-chain Omega 3’s in a concentrated form direct from the source (no conversion needed)… cutting out the middle man (fish). As always, I recommend you head to your closest health food store or jump on Amazon/iHerb and find a DHA/EPA supplement that is within your budget – look for one with at least EPA (60-130mg) & DHA (120-250mg). I personally recommend Nutrikynd which contains DHA/EPA, B12 and Vitamin D all in one convenient capsule. I formulated this myself for a company based in Sydney so I know the ingredients are high quality. Additionally given the product is TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) listed it has been produced arguably under the worlds strictest food manufacturing conditions. That means, what’s on the label is actually inside each capsule!
Join the mailing list for Plant Proof news, tips, recipes, interviews and much much more.