Many foods have omega-3 fatty acids. A diet high in certain fish, seeds, and nuts can help you get more omega-3s.

Omega-3 fatty acids have various benefits for your body and brain.

Many mainstream health organizations recommend that healthy adults consume 250–500 milligrams (mg) of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day. You can reach that amount by eating two servings of fatty fish per week (1, 2).

You can get large amounts of omega-3 fats from fatty fish, algae, and several high fat plant foods.

For alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, a plant-based omega-3, the Adequate Intake is 1,600 mg for people assigned male at birth and 1,100 mg for people assigned female at birth, according to the National Institutes of Health (3).

Here is a list of 12 foods that are very high in omega-3.

Mackerel are small fatty fish.

In many countries, they are commonly smoked and eaten as whole fillets.

Mackerel are incredibly rich in nutrients — a 3.5-ounce (oz), or 100-gram (g), serving packs 500% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin B12 and 130% for selenium (4).

What’s more, these fish are delicious and require little preparation.

Omega-3 content: 4,580 mg of EPA and DHA (combined) in 3.5 oz (100 g) (4)

Salmon is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

It contains high quality protein and various nutrients, including large amounts of vitamin D, selenium, and B vitamins (5, 6).

Studies show that people who regularly eat fatty fish such as salmon have a lower risk of conditions such as heart disease, dementia, and depression (7, 8, 9).

Omega-3 content: 2,150 mg of EPA and DHA (combined) in 3.5 oz (100 g) (5)

Cod liver oil is more of a supplement than a food.

As the name implies, it’s an oil extracted from the livers of cod fish.

This oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and loaded with vitamins D and A — a single tablespoon provides 170% and 453% of the Daily Value (DV), respectively (10).

Therefore, taking just 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil more than satisfies your need for three essential nutrients.

But don’t take more than 1 tablespoon at a time, as too much vitamin A can be harmful.

Omega-3 content: 2,438 mg of EPA and DHA (combined) per tablespoon (10)

Herring is a medium-sized oily fish. It is often cold-smoked, pickled, or precooked and sold as a canned snack.

Smoked herring is a popular breakfast food in countries such as England, where it’s called kippers and served with eggs.

A 3.5-oz (100-g) serving of herring contains almost 100% of the DV for selenium and 779% of the DV for vitamin B12 (11).

Omega-3 content: 2,150 mg of EPA and DHA (combined) in 3.5 oz (100 g) (11)

Shellfish are among the most nutritious foods you can eat.

Oysters are one of the best food sources for zinc. Just 6 raw eastern oysters (3 oz or 85 g) pack 289% of the DV for zinc, 69% for copper, and 567% for vitamin B12 (12, 13).

Oysters can be eaten as an appetizer, snack, or whole meal. Raw oysters are a delicacy in many countries.

Omega-3 content: 329 mg of EPA and DHA (combined) in 6 raw eastern oysters, or 391 mg per 3.5 oz (100 g) (12)

Sardines are very small oily fish commonly eaten as appetizers, snacks, or delicacies.

They’re highly nutritious, especially when eaten whole. They contain almost every nutrient your body needs.

A 3.5-oz (100-g) serving of drained sardines provides more than 370% of the DV for vitamin B12, 24% for vitamin D, and 96% for selenium (14).

Omega-3 content: 1,463 mg of EPA and DHA (combined) per cup (149 g) of canned Atlantic sardines, or 982 mg per 3.5 oz (100 g) (14)

Anchovies are tiny oily fish that are often sold dried or canned.

Usually eaten in small portions, anchovies can be rolled around capers, stuffed into olives, or used as pizza and salad toppings.

Because of their strong taste, they are also used to flavor many dishes and sauces, including Worcestershire sauce, remoulade, and Caesar dressing.

Anchovies are a great source of niacin and selenium, and boned anchovies are a decent source of calcium (15).

Omega-3 content: 411 mg of EPA and DHA (combined) per 5 anchovies (20 g), or 2,053 mg per 3.5 oz (100 g) (15)

Caviar consists of fish eggs, or roe.

Widely regarded as a luxury food item, caviar is most often used in small quantities as an appetizer, taster, or garnish.

Caviar is a good source of choline and a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (16).

Omega-3 content: 1,046 mg of EPA and DHA (combined) per tablespoon (16 g), or 6,540 mg per 3.5 oz (100 g) (16)

These small brown or yellow seeds are often ground, milled, or pressed to extract oil.

They are one of the richest whole food sources of the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Therefore, flaxseed oil is often used as an omega-3 supplement.

Flaxseed is also a good source of fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients. The seeds have a great omega-6 to omega-3 ratio compared to most other oily plant seeds (17, 18, 19, 20).

Because your intestines cannot break down the tough outer shells of whole flaxseed, it may be better to use ground flaxseed or grind whole flaxseed in a coffee grinder.

Omega-3 content: 2,350 mg of ALA per tablespoon (10.3 g) of whole seeds, or 7,260 mg per tablespoon (13.6 g) of oil (17, 18)

Chia seeds are incredibly nutritious — rich in manganese, selenium, magnesium, and other nutrients (21).

A standard 1-oz (28-g) serving of chia seeds contains 5 g of protein, including eight essential amino acids.

Omega-3 content: 5,050 mg of ALA per oz (28 g) (21)

Walnuts are very nutritious and loaded with fiber. They also contain large amounts of copper, manganese, and vitamin E, as well as important plant compounds (22).

Make sure not to remove the skin, as it packs most of the walnuts’ phenol antioxidants, which offer health benefits (23).

Omega-3 content: 2,570 mg of ALA per oz (28 g), or about 14 walnut halves (22)

Soybeans are a good source of fiber and vegetable protein.

They are also a good source of other nutrients, including riboflavin, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium (24).

Soybeans are very high in omega-6 fatty acids. In the past, researchers suggested that eating too much omega-6 may cause inflammation, but current research suggests that the relationship between omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation may be more complex.

Omega-6 fatty acids may have many health benefits, including lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease (25).

Omega-3 content: 670 mg of ALA in 1/2 cup (47 g) of dry roasted soybeans, or 1,440 mg in 3.5 oz (100 g) (24)

Sections 1–8 discuss foods containing the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, which are found in some animal foods, seafood, and algae.

Conversely, sections 9–12 mention foods that provide the omega-3 fat ALA, which can be converted to EPA and DHA. However, this process isn’t very efficient, which is why EPA or DHA supplements are often recommended for vegetarians and vegans (26, 27).

Although not as high in omega-3 as the foods above, many other foods contain decent amounts.

These include:

  • pasture-raised eggs
  • omega-3-enriched eggs
  • meats and dairy products from grass-fed animals
  • hemp seeds
  • vegetables such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, and purslane

Below are answers to common questions about omega-3s and how to add them to your diet.

What foods are high in omega-3?

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You can also get omega-3s from some nuts and seeds.

What fruits or vegetables are high in omega-3?

Non-animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, spinach, and Brussels sprouts. Non-animal sources contain the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which your body does not use as effectively as EPA and DHA, both of which come from animal-based sources.

Are eggs rich in omega-3?

Pasture-raised eggs and eggs enriched with omega-3s contain a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids but not as much as oily fish and oysters (28).

Is avocado rich in omega-3?

Avocados are not a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Like other non-animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids, avocados contain the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which your body does not use as effectively as EPA and DHA. These more beneficial types only come from animal-based sources, such as fatty fish.

Many whole foods contain large amounts of omega-3s.

Omega-3s provide numerous health benefits, such as helping to lower inflammation and reduce heart disease risk.

You may easily meet your omega-3 needs if you typically eat these foods. However, if you don’t eat many of these foods and think you may be lacking in omega-3s, you may want to ask a healthcare professional whether you could benefit from an omega-3 supplement.