Why You Need To Watch For Omega-3 Fatty Acids As An Ingredient If You're Vegan

As a vegan, you're someone who cares not only about how you treat your body but the good treatment of those around you. That, of course, includes the health and well-being of the animals we share this planet with.

We know that animal products such as beef, pork, and even eggs can be obtained in some very cruel and harsh ways, but did you know that you should also be careful when shopping for non-meat products? That's right, even the most meticulous of us may overlook animal by-products in items such as vitamins and supplements. One animal by-product you should watch out for when you visit the grocery store is omega-3 fatty acids.

At first glance, omega-3s can seem harmless enough. Take a brief moment to search them up on Google, and you're sure to find article after article showcasing the benefits of including them in your diet. But to better understand why vegans should keep a wary eye on product labels for this ingredient, let's dive into what exactly an omega-3 fatty acid is and why, in fact, many people can't get enough of it.

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that the human body cannot make on its own. Even though our bodies are unable to produce this fat, it is still considered an essential fat that doctors suggest we include in our diets. This means we have to get it through ingestion, via WebMD.

There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids that vegans need to be aware of, knowing the difference between them will make your next grocery shopping trip much easier. The three types of omega-3 fatty acids are EPA, DHA, and ALA. The first two types, EPA and DHA, stand for eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. These both come from fish. The last type, ALA, is known as alpha-linolenic acid and is found in plants, typically algae.

Omega-3 fatty acids are great for preventing blood clots. It's also considered a way to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Many people enjoy having them in their diet.

Why vegans should be aware

If you look at an ingredient label and notice that the product contains omega-3, it is most likely from fish. Remember that secret we talked about earlier? That's right, to know if the omega-3 fatty acid is from fish, look for EPA or DHA. You'll have your answer. If you notice that it contains ALA, then you're good to go because it comes from a plant.

But if most omega-3 fatty acids come from fish, won't it be a pain trying to get that essential fat without buying a product that potentially harms fish? Don't worry; there are plenty of alternatives! In fact, there are websites that contain foods and recipes that include this healthy fat and don't come at the expense of harming animals, via Healthline.

Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of many ingredients vegans should be aware of when making purchases. Stay vigilant, vegans!