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15 Foods High in DHA for Healthy Brain and Heart

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is needed by the body for brain and heart health. It is present in some foods that when eaten, will release the omega-3 fatty acids that the body needs. The cardiovascular system greatly benefits from DHA. It makes the heart strong and healthy. The brain is another organ that DHA helps improve. Here is a list of foods high in DHA that you can incorporate in your diet.

1. Egg Yolks

Egg yolks contain 240 mg of DHA for every half cup. Recommended daily consumption of omega-3 fatty acid is from 500 to 1,000 mg. They contain the smallest amount of DHA in the list. Consuming moderate amounts of egg yolks is good for the body. Too much of them can attribute to high cholesterol levels in the body.

2. Chia Seeds

As small as each seed is, it is packed with nutrients. The amount of DHA it has is 2,457 mg for every tablespoon, so the seeds should be taken in moderation in consideration of the DHA daily requirement. Aside from DHA, it is also rich in protein and fiber, among others. Chia seeds are also taken by those who wish to lose weight. They can be mixed in drinks and other foods such as cereals, salads and the like.

3. Salmon

A 3-ounce wild caught salmon contains 1,716 mg of DHA, way less than what its fish oil counterpart contains. It can be fried, grilled, baked or smoked, and it will not affect its DHA content. Other vitamins and minerals essential in overall health are also found in wild caught salmon.


4. Flax Seeds

In every tablespoon of flaxseeds, there are 1,597 mg of DHA. These seeds have been consumed for thousands of years now because of their nutritional values. Today they are no longer just consumed as they are. They are now incorporated into crackers and oatmeal. They are also good sources of fiber and protein.

5. Tuna

Three ounces of tuna contain 1,414 mg of DHA omega-3 fatty acid. It contains other nutrients like potassium, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamins B and C and many more. Although 3 ounces of tuna contains more than the recommended value, eating less than 3 ounces will be good for both the brain and heart.

6. Sardines

Sardines are more famous canned than fresh. There are different varieties of canned sardines but all of them contain DHA. Each can of sardines contain 1,363 mg of DHA, so a few pieces of canned sardines should be sufficient for your daily requirement. Fresh sardines can be cooked in different ways.

7. Hemp Seeds

At exactly 1,000 mg of DHA for every tablespoon of hemp seeds, you will be able to get what you need daily so that your body is fed with the right amount of DHA omega-3 fatty acid. Shelled seeds can be added to foods such as salads, smoothies and cereals.

8. Natto

Natto is a Japanese food made from fermented soybeans and is considered a health food in the country. Every one-fourth cup of this food yields 428 mg of DHA. It is usually eaten for breakfast, and drizzled with soy sauce.  It also contains protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins.

9. Anchovies

They contain 951 mg of DHA in a can. Anchovies can be made into different dishes and are also famous toppings for pizza. They may be small, but each anchovy is so tasty that only a few are needed to flavor any dish. One can is enough for your daily intake of DHA.

10. Cod Liver Oil

With 2,664 mg in every tablespoon, it is two and a half times more than the required dose of up to 1,000 mg of DHA. It is so named because it is derived from the liver of codfish. This fish oil also contributes in balancing cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

11. Walnuts

One-fourth cup of these nuts contains the same amount of DHA as cod liver oil, at 2,664 mg. Walnuts help enhance metabolism, bone health as well as controls diabetes. For those who want to lose weight, walnuts are a great help in managing weight. ALA or alpha-linoleic acid is also found in walnuts.

12. Mackerel

Mackerel has the highest percentage of DHA at 6,982 mg in every cup of cooked fish. It is way more than the recommended daily consumption, so it is best to eat this type of fish in moderation, because although DHA is good for the body, anything in excess can be the opposite.

13. White Fish

White fish contains 1,363 mg per 3 ounces. It is a freshwater fish that contains more than the recommended amount of DHA. This type of fish is widely caught in North America. Aside from omega-3 fatty acid, it is also rich in other nutrients and vitamins.

14. Salmon Fish Oil

Aside from salmon that you can cook and eat, salmon fish oil is also a good source of DHA, containing 4,767 mg for every tablespoon. This food supplement should be taken with the approval of a health practitioner to make sure that it does not exceed your required daily intake of DHA.

15. Herring

Three ounces has 1,885 mg of DHA. Potassium, calcium, vitamins C, B6, B12 and D, iron and magnesium can also be found in herring. Aside from eating this fish for its DHA content, it is also made into fish oil that is taken as a food supplement. They can be easily caught as they swim nearby banks and in large schools.

One thing to remember

DHA is not naturally produced by the body, so in order to get DHA that will promote better brain and heart health and help you maintain good overall health, you need to eat foods contain this omega-3 fatty acid. You will notice that plant seeds and several kinds of fish as well as fish oils are the bet sources of DHA. Most of the foods listed above contain more than the required value, so it is important to consume only the right amount that will not exceed your daily need.

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