Can you recommend any vegan food sources of DHA? I’d like to try food before supplements.
This is a great question I was recently asked by a vegan client. Getting adequate essential fatty acids (EFAs) is extremely important for everyone, but especially for vegetarians and vegans, and especially if they are trying to fall pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding.
We all need EFAs for healthy brain, eye and nervous system function (and development in the case of pregnant mamas), and to keep our immune systems humming along nicely.
The two essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are most available in fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel. You can also get these EFAs from fish oil. The fish themselves get it by eating phytoplankton, which themselves subsist on microalgae.
Since vegans don't eat fish, getting enough DHA can be tricky. This is especially true for pregnant and breastfeeding vegan mamas.
Read on for my extended answer to this question. If you're short on time, scroll to the bottom of the article for my short answer!