Avocado is a great dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. A small California-type avocado provides up to 9% of the recommended daily intake!
Health benefits of omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for good health. For instance, omega-3s are responsible for numerous cellular functions, such as signaling, cell membrane fluidity, and structural maintenance. Moreover, they regulate the nervous system, blood pressure, hematic clotting, glucose tolerance, and inflammatory processes, protecting from inflammatory diseases.
Also, they’re involved in skeletal muscle metabolism. So, they may help prevent osteoporosis.
Most noteworthy, omega-3s protect the heart. They’ve beneficial effects on arrhythmias, atherosclerosis, inflammation, and thrombosis. Also, they seem to improve endothelial function, reduce blood pressure, and significantly lower triglycerides.
Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in the brain and eye development and function.
What’s the recommended daily dose of omega-3s?
The recommended daily intake of omega-3s is 1.6 g for men and 1.1 g for women.
There are 3 main types of omega-3s: EPA, DHA, and ALA. EPA and DHA are naturally present mainly in fish, while ALA is mainly found in certain plant-based foods.
ALA is the only essential omega-3. It can be converted into EPA and then to DHA in the body. But the conversion is very limited. Less than 15% of ALA is converted to EPA and DHA.
So, we better consume EPA and DHA directly from foods or dietary supplements. It’s the only practical way to increase their levels in the body.
There are even vegan supplements with DHA and EPA, made of algae. Algae are grown commercially in tanks, away from the ocean. So, they don’t contain ocean pollutants, such as mercury. You’ll find a wide variety of vegan (or fish oil) omega-3 supplements on iHerb.
How much omega-3s in avocado?
Avocado is a good dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. It could help meet our daily needs.
California-type avocados contain about 0.11 g of omega-3s per 100g. This dose is about 7% of the recommended daily intake. In fact, a whole fruit contains about 0.15 g of omega-3s, or more than 9% DV (Daily Value)!
Florida-type avocados have a slightly lower omega-3 content. They have only 0.096 g of omega-3s per 100g. So, they contain 12% less omega-3s, as compared to California-type avocados.
Furthermore, avocado contains only alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). As all plants, avocado doesn’t contain any DHA or EPA.
Common foods high in omega-3s
Fish are the best dietary sources of DHA and EPA. Consuming fish, fish oil, or dietary supplements is the only way to boost DHA and EPA intakes.
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Fish oils are particularly high in omega-3s as well. Just a tbsp contains up to 1.8 g of EPA and 2.5 g of DHA!
Eggs are also great dietary sources of omega-3s. They contain all 3 types of omega-3s!
On the other hand, the richest plant-based foods in omega-3s (ALA) are flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil, soybean oil, and purslane. They contain up to 2.3 g of omega-3s (ALA) per serving!
Should I eat avocados regularly?
Actually, avocados are among the richest foods in monounsaturated fatty acids. Replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats is good for the heart.
Moreover, although avocados are high in calories, they could help us lose weight. Especially, if we eat them at lunch or at brunch. They have a high satiating effect, helping us consume fewer calories in a day!