Anti-Depression Foods: Omega-3 Foods List

While it may surprise some that a “fat” would be suggested as an important food in preventing depression, it certainly is. Our bodies regularly need three types of nutrients: fats (or lipids), proteins and carbohydrates. There is substantial evidence to indicate that Omega-3 fatty acids serve to enhance the membranes of brain cells. Studies have found deficiencies in Omega-3 fats common among persons with depressive disorders.

Do note that there are still fats more likely to be harmful than beneficial. While Omega-9 fats, found in olive oil are among the safer fats, it’s best to minimize intake of Omega-6 fats,commonly found in various vegetable-based oils. One reason for this is that Omega-6 fats compete with Omega-3 fats in the brain and other organs. Also, while Omega-3 fats are relatively rare in the modern diet, Omega-6 fats are widespread to the excess. You want to aim for a balance between the two.

Fish is the category of food with the most abundant and accessible form of Omega-3 fats. The fats in vegetable sources of Omega-3 don’t tend to be as easily accessed by the body, so greater quantities may need to be ingested to reach the same level. While the amount of this fat varies in different types of fish, most all fish seem to provide worthwhile quantities. Cold water fish seem to offer the best source. The one thing to look out for is farm-grown fish, which, due to the way they are fed, may have high levels of Omega-6 fats, which is not ideal. While many have concerns of pollutant levels in wild-caught fish, the levels are considered safe if you eat no more than 4-5 fish meals per week.

The list below spotlights several of the best food sources of Omega-3 fats and, for comparison, shows some food with lower amounts, such as vegetables and fruits.

Omega-3 Fat Contents Of Various Foods

Fish / Seafood Serving Size (ounces) Omega-3 Fat (grams)
Salmon, Atlantic, wild, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 3 g
Salmon, Pink, canned, solids with bone and
liquid
4 oz 2 g
Salmon, Coho, wild, cooked, moist heat 4 oz 2.1 g
Salmon, Sockeye, canned, drained solids with bone 4 oz 1.9 g
Salmon, Pink, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 1.1 g
Salmon, Chinook, smoked 4 oz 0.5 g
Salmon, Chinook, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 2.4 g
Whitefish, mixed species, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 2.3 g
Herring, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 2.5 g
Mackerel, Pacific and jack, mixed species,
cooked, dry heat
4 oz 2.3 g
Anchovy, European, canned in oil, drained
solids
4 oz 2.4 g
Oyster, eastern, wild, cooked, moist heat 4 oz 1.5 g
Tuna, fresh, Bluefin, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 1.9 g
Bass, Striped, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.9 g
Trout, Rainbow, wild, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 1.3 g
Tuna, White, canned in water, without salt,
drained solids
4 oz 1 g
Swordfish, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.7 g
Shrimp, mixed species, canned 4 oz 0.6 g
Shrimp, mixed species, cooked, moist heat 4 oz 0.3 g
Ocean perch, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.5 g
Crab, Dungeness, cooked, moist heat 4 oz 0.4 g
Scallop, (bay and sea), cooked, steamed 4 oz 0.4 g
Cod, Pacific, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.3 g
Cod, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.2 g
Snapper, mixed species, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.3 g
Nuts / Seeds Serving Size (ounces) Omega-3 Fat (grams)
Flax Seeds 4 oz 25.8 g
Chia seeds, dried (much higher in Omega-6) 4 oz 19.9 g
Walnuts, english (much higher in Omega-6) 4 oz 10.3 g
Butternuts, dried (very hi in omega-6) 4 oz 9.8 g
Walnuts, black, dried (very hi in omega-6) 4 oz 2.1 g
Beechnuts, dried (very hi in omega-6) 4 oz 1.9 g
Pecans, oil roasted, without salt added (very hi in omega-6) 4 oz 1 g
Pecans (very hi in omega-6) 4 oz 1.1 g
Pine nuts, Pinyon, dried 4 oz 0.9 g
Dairy Products Serving Size (ounces) Omega-3 Fat (grams)
Cheese, roquefort (fairly hi in omega-6) 4 oz .08 g
Butter (high in omega-6) 4 oz 1.6 g
Raspberries, raw (fairly hi in omega-6) 4 oz 0.1 g
Blueberries, frozen, unsweetened (fairly hi in omega-6) 4 oz 0.1 g
Vegetables Serving Size (ounces) Omega-3 Fat (grams)
Spinach, frozen, chopped or leaf, cooked, boiled,
drained
4 oz 0.4 g
Spinach, canned, drained solids 4 oz 0.2 g
Alfalfa seeds, sprouted, raw 4 oz 0.2 g
Cauliflower, cooked, boiled, drained 4 oz 0.2 g
Peppers, sweet, green, sauteed 4 oz 0.8 g
Turnip greens, canned, solids and liquids 4 oz 0.1 g
Spinach, raw 4 oz 0.1 g
Peppers, sweet, red, sauteed (hi in omega-6) 4 oz 0.88 g
Brussels sprouts, cooked, boiled, drained 4 oz 0.1 g
Onions, yellow, sauteed (hi in omega-6) 4 oz 0.7 g
Squash, winter, all varieties, cooked, baked 4 oz 0.2 g
Squash, summer, all varieties, cooked, boiled, drained 4 oz 0.1 g

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