Which are the richest nuts & nut oils in omega-3s?

Walnuts are the richest nuts in omega-3s, providing 160% of the DV per serving, while flaxseed oil is the richest vegetable oil in omega-3s, providing 455% of the DV. Walnut oil is the richest nut oil in omega-3s, though.

Which nuts are rich in omega-3s?

Actually, there are only a few plant-based foods rich in omega-3s. Certain nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and algae are the best plant-based dietary sources of omega-3s.

Walnuts are the richest nuts in omega-3s. Just a serving provides 160% of the Daily Value (DV). Pecans are the second-richest nuts in omega-3s, providing 17% of the DV per serving. Pine nuts are the third-richest nuts in omega-3s. They have a similar omega-3 content to pecans.

Pistachios, macadamia nuts, and chestnuts have some omega-3s as well. They provide 5%, 3.5%, and 1.6% of the DV per serving, respectively.

Other common nuts, such as cashews, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and peanuts have a much lower omega-3 content. Almonds have no omega-3s!

omega-3s (g)
per 100g
omega-3s (g)
per 1 oz
% DV
pine nuts0.90.2616%
Brazil nuts0.10.021%
Omega-3 content of common nuts.[1]

Which vegetable oils are the richest in omega-3s?

Flaxseed oil is by far the richest plant-based source of omega-3s. Just a tbsp provides 7.28 g of omega-3s, or 455% of the DV!

Walnut oil is the second-richest vegetable oil in omega-3s. However, walnut oil is the richest nut oil in omega-3s, providing 88% of the DV per serving.

Canola and soybean oils are also excellent dietary sources of omega-3s.

omega-3s (g)
per 100g
omega-3s (g)
per tbsp
% DV
flaxseed oil53.57.28455%
walnut oil10.41.488%
canola oil9.11.278%
soybean oil5.10.744%
avocado oil10.960.138%
olive oil0.70.095.5%
peanut oil0.30.053%
cottonseed oil0.30.042.6%
safflower oil0.20.021.4%
Omega-3 content of common vegetable oils.

Avocado and olive oil contain decent amounts of omega-3s. A tbsp contains 8% and 5.5% of the DV, respectively. Peanut, cottonseed and safflower oils also contain some omega-3 fatty acids.

Actually, the avocado fruit is one of the best dietary sources of omega-3s!

You can find a wide variety of cold-pressed flaxseed oils and flaxseed supplements on Amazon.

Are omega-3s of nuts bioavailable?

The human body can easily absorb omega-3s from food. In fact, the absorption rate of omega-3s from food or supplements is about 95%. Prefer to consume omega-3-rich foods and dietary supplements with a high-fat meal. Fat increases the absorption rates of omega-3s.

What’s the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of nuts?

Both omega-3s and omega-6s are necessary for health. However, nowadays, we consume extremely high amounts of omega-6s. A high ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s increases the risk of inflammation and chronic diseases.[2]

The nuts with the lowest omega-6/omega-3 ratio are:

  • walnuts: 4.2
  • macadamia nuts: 6.6
  • chestnuts: 8.4

The omega-6/omega-3 ratio of pecans (21), pine nuts (36), and pistachios (49) is much higher. Other nuts have significantly higher ratios, as they contain negligible amounts of omega-3s.

What’s the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of vegetable oils?

The vegetable oils with the lowest omega-6/omega-3 ratio are:

  • flaxseed oil: 0.27
  • canola oil: 2.1
  • walnut oil: 5.1
  • soybean oil: 7.8
  • olive oil: 12.3
  • avocado oil: 13
  • peanut oil: 56.3
  • safflower oil: 81

Actually, flaxseed oil is the best vegetable oil for boosting your omega-3 intake. Flaxseed oil is the only plant-based source with significantly more omega-3s than omega-6s.

Canola oil and walnut oil have a great omega-6/omega-3 ratio as well.

The recommended daily intake of omega-3s is 1.6 g for adult men and 1.1 g for adult women. Teenagers have the same omega-3 needs as adults. Pregnant and lactating women require 1.4 g and 1.3 g of omega-3s per day, respectively.[3]

What types of omega-3s are in nuts?

There are 3 main types of omega-3s: ALA, EPA, and DHA. ALA is naturally present mainly in plant-based foods. In fact, nuts and nut oils have only ALA. They don’t have any other type of omega-3s.

Only fish and seafood are naturally rich in EPA and DHA. Also, certain eggs contain decent amounts of DHA and EPA. The only good plant-based foods rich in EPA and DHA are algae. You can get a wide variety of omega-3 supplements from algae or fish oil on iHerb.

ALA is the only omega-3 fatty acid that is essential. We have to get it from food. ALA can be converted into EPA and then to DHA. But, this conversion is very limited. Less than 15% of ALA is converted to other forms of omega-3s. Hence, we should get DHA and EPA from food or dietary supplements.

Can nuts & vegetable oils help us meet our daily needs?

Although walnuts, flaxseed oil, and canola oil are particularly rich in omega-3s (ALA), they contain negligible amounts of DHA and EPA.

As only a small percentage of ALA is converted into DHA and EPA, we should consume a wide variety of foods high in omega-3s. According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should consume at least 250 mg of EPA and DHA a day. This dose is the equivalent of eating seafood twice a week.[4]

Can I get too much omega-3s from nuts or vegetable oils?

According to the Institute of Medicine, the maximum safe dosage of ALA (omega-3s in plants) is 1.2% of the energy intake. Hence, people who follow a 2,000 calorie diet could safely get 2.7 g of ALA per day. This amount is found in a handful of walnuts, 2 tbsp of walnut oil, or a tsp of flaxseed oil.

Certainly, healthy people can consume high amounts of omaga-3s from plant-based sources. But, you shouldn’t consume too much flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnut oil, or any other omega-3-rich food for a long time, without consulting your physician.

Most noteworthy, patients who take certain drugs, such as anticoagulants, should consult their physician before taking omega-3 supplements or consuming omega-3-rich foods. Omega-3 supplements may interact with medication.

It’s important not to exceed the maximum safe dosage of omega-3 from supplements.

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