When most Mediterranean diet guides recommend eating more foods that provide Omega-3 fatty acids, they’re usually referring to the fatty fishes, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sea bass, and sardines.

But what if you are allergic to fish, or simply don’t like fish, or choose to eat vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based? There are many other sources of Omega-3s that don’t come from fish or from taking a supplement.

Why do we need Omega-3s?

Omega-3s are highly beneficial for:

  • cardiovascular health – heart, blood and your blood vessels
  • pulmonary system – lungs, airways, and also your blood vessels
  • immune system – lymphatic system, spleen, white blood cells, and bone marrow
  • endocrine system – pancreas, thyroid, adrenal glands, pituitary glands, and hormones

There are also mental health benefits. Omega-3s play an important role in brain development, brain function, and aging.

Let’s go through some non-fishy sources of Omega-3s.

Seaweed and Algae

Nori, sea moss, spirulina, and chlorella. Nori is the type of seaweed that is used in sushi. Sea moss is a type of algae that can be used to make a gel. I have a video where I used sea moss as a vegan binder in my black bean burgers in place of egg. Spirulina and chlorella can usually be found in powder form. You can add them to smoothies or juices or even in soups.

Dark Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, watercress, and even broccoli. I’m always encouraging people to eat some type of dark leafy green every day. They have iron, calcium, fiber, vitamins C and K, and they taste great. When you are putting together your 5-10 vegetables a day, make one of them a dark leafy green,

Walnuts

Eat a handful of walnuts, or sprinkle them on salad. Make a walnut paste for pasta. You can follow my recipe for pistachio cream sauce for pasta and substitute walnuts for a different flavor. Yum. Add them to your cookie recipes or make banana bread with them. There are so many uses for walnuts.

Kidney Beans and Navy Beans

Eat them as a side dish, use them is soups, or make a burrito. Blend them into a paste to use as a dip or as a hearty variation on hummus.

Flax Seeds

You have to grind flax seeds into a powder, but then you can add them to smoothies, add them to your breakfast cereal, use them when baking.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are interesting to work with. If you soak them, they turn into a gel-like consistency that you can use as a thickener or even to make pudding. Add them to cereals, yogurt, in smoothies, or sprinkle them on a salad.

Hemp Seeds

You can sprinkle them on salads and breakfast cereals, use them in granola, smoothies, or even in pancake batter.

Edamame, Soy Beans, and Tofu

Edamame are immature soybeans that are usually served boiled or steamed. You see them in Japanese restaurants. They’re so good. Soybeans can be blended to make an interesting version of hummus. You can add them to salads and stews. Tofu can be found in most supermarkets. It comes in varying textures and can be eaten raw or cooked. Use it in stir-fries, coat it in sauces as a meat substitute. You can blend it into sauces as a thickener. You can blend silken tofu with a non-dairy milk of your choice to use as a substitute for heavy cream.

Flaxseed Oil, Canola Oil, Soybean Oil

Flaxseed oil is not for cooking as it doesn’t do well at high temperatures. But you can use it in salad dressings, or add it to juices and smoothies. Canola oil can be used for cooking and also for salad dressings, and in baking. It has a mild neutral flavor that makes it fairly versatile. Soybean oil can also be used in cooking. It can withstand higher temperatures. You can also use it in salad dressing or to make homemade mayo and aioli.

Wheat Germ

Try adding it to cereals, muffins, corn bread, granola, pancakes, breads, and smoothies.

As you can see, some of these foods can be eaten on their own, used in salads, granola, or blended into smoothies or other foods to get their Omega-3 benefits.

And of course, these foods have many other nutrients and benefits as well. A lot of them are high in protein and all kinds of vitamins and minerals.

If you’re looking for ways of adding Omega-3s without eating fish in your diet, seek out some of the foods I’ve listed above.

Let me know if you have any questions.