Walnuts are the richest nuts in omega-3s. A serving provides more omega-3s than the recommended daily intake! Just a walnut provides 23% of the Daily Value.
Are walnuts high in omega-3s?
Walnuts are the richest nuts in omega-3s and one of the richest foods in omega-3s. Walnuts have between 2.6 and 9.1 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per 100g. The omega-3 content of walnuts depends on the variety.
English walnuts are the richest walnut variety in omega-3s. They have 9.08 grams of omega-3s per 100g:
- a handful provides 2.57 grams of omega-3s, or 160% of the Daily Value.
- a walnut has 0.37 grams of omega-3s, or 23% of the DV.
Other walnut varieties have a lower omega-3 content, though. For instance, black walnuts have only 2.68 grams of omega-3s per 100g. They have 70% less omega-3s than English walnuts! Still, a serving (1 oz) of black walnuts provides 0.76 grams of omega-3s, or 47% of the DV.
What’s the omage-3 content of other walnut-based foods?
Walnut oil is also particularly rich in omega-3s. It has 10.4 grams of omega-3s per 100g. Moreover:
- a tbsp of walnut oil provides 1.41 grams of omega-3s, or 88% of the DV.
- a tsp of walnut oil provides 0.47 grams of omega-3s, or 29% of the DV.
For comparison, a tablespoon of fish oil provides about 4 grams of omega-3s. This amount is 3.5 times the recommended daily intake.
Walnut flour is also high in omega-3s. It contains approximately 11 grams of omega-3s per 100g!
In fact, all walnut-based foods are good dietary sources of omega-3s. The consumption of walnut butter, cookies, or bread helps meet our daily needs of omega-3s!
You can buy a wide variety of walnut products, such as flour and butter, on Amazon.
What’s the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s of walnuts?
Both omega-3s and omega-6s are necessary for health. However, nowadays, most people who follow the standard Western diet consume extremely high amounts of omega-6s. A high ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s increases the risk of inflammation and chronic diseases.
In addition, walnuts are good for our health because they have a great omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. The omega-6/omega-3 ratio of:
- English walnuts is 4.2
- black walnuts is 12.6
- walnut oil is 5.1
The omega-6/omega-3 ratio in Western diets is higher than 15/1. A lower ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids is more desirable. We should consume more foods with omega-3s.
Are other common nuts high in omega-3s?
Walnuts are the richest nuts in omega-3s. By far.
Pecans, and pine nuts are also good dietary sources of omega-3s. A serving of walnuts provides 160% of the DV, while a serving of pecans and pine nuts provides only 17% and 16% of the DV, respectively.
Pistachios have some omega-3s as well. Other nuts have lower amounts of omega-3s.
What’s the recommended daily dose of omega-3s?
The recommended daily intake of omega-3s is 1.6 grams for adult men and 1.1 grams for adult women. Teenagers have the same omega-3 needs as adults. Pregnant and lactating women require 1.4 grams and 1.3 grams of omega-3s per day, respectively.
Can walnut help us meet our daily needs?
There are 3 main types of omega-3s: ALA, EPA, and DHA. ALA is naturally present mainly in plant-based foods. In fact, walnuts have only ALA. They don’t have any other type of omega-3s.
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.
DHA and EPA are mainly found in animal-derived foods, such as seafood, and fish. Eggs contain decent amounts of DHA and EPA as well. Algae are the only plant-based foods high in DHA and EPA.
Therefore, although walnuts are particularly high in omega-3s, they shouldn’t be the only source of omega-3s. We have to consume foods with DHA and EPA as well.
In addition, omega-3 supplements from algae are grown commercially in tanks. Hence, they don’t contain ocean pollutants, like mercury.
You can get a wide variety of omega-3 supplements from algae or fish oil on iHerb.
Do we absorb omega-3s of walnuts?
The human body absorbs most of the omega-3s. The absorption rate is about 95%. Prefer to consume walnuts and other omega-3-rich foods with a fat-rich meal. Fat increases the absorption rates of omega-3s.
Can I get too much omega-3s from walnuts?
Certainly, healthy people can consume high amounts of walnuts. However, even 2 handfuls of walnuts exceed the maximum safe dose of omega-3s! You shouldn’t consume more than a handful of walnuts per day for a long time. After all, walnuts have many calories. Too many walnuts can make you gain weight.
Above all, patients who take certain drugs, such as anticoagulants, should consult their physician before taking omega-3 supplements or consuming high amounts of walnuts or any other omega-3-rich food. Omega-3 supplements may interact with medication.
When should I eat walnuts to get omega-3s?
A great time to eat walnuts is at breakfast. Omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in the function of the brain and eye. Also, omega-3s may protect from inflammations.[4,5]
In addition, we can eat walnuts on an empty stomach. As they’re low in carbs and sugar, walnuts don’t spike blood sugar levels. On the contrary, walnuts control glycemic response of a meal. Actually, omega-3s improve glucose tolerance!
Furthermore, walnuts can keep us full for hours. They’re super filling, as they’re particularly high in fiber and protein.
Moreover, you can eat walnuts before bed. Walnuts support a good night’s sleep! Omega-3s may relax the nervous system, improve sleep duration and protect against chronic sleep-deprivation side effects.[6,7]
Other common foods with omega-3s!
Fish and seafood are the best animal-derived sources of omega-3s. Most noteworthy, fish oil is the best dietary source of DHA and EPA. Eggs are also good animal-based sources of DHA and EPA.
Avocado, canola oil, soybean oil, purslane, and certain seeds are the richest plant-based sources of omega-3s (ALA).
Algae are the only plant-based sources of DHA and EPA. You can get algae supplements on iHerb.
Do we need dietary supplements with 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.
Vegans, vegetarians, or people who follow a plant-based diet would benefit from taking omega-3 supplements.