Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential fat that the body can’t produce on its own and that we need to survive. They are key for improving cardiovascular health and can help to lower blood pressure.
Omega-3s are primarily found in animal-based diets, which helps to explain why a lack of omega-3s is a common deficiency for those who follow a plant-based diet. While it is possible to get these vital fatty acids through chia seeds, walnuts, and other omega-3-rich nuts and seeds, there is a lesser-known source of omega-3s that you should definitely consider: purslane.
If you aren’t familiar with purslane, it’s a type of weed that has an earthy, slightly sour taste. It’s great for a garnish for salads and soups, and can even work as a cheeky topping on your tacos.
What makes purslane so good for you is that it contains two types of omega-3s: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). While the former is common in plant sources, purslane is exceptionally rich, with five to seven times more ALA than spinach leaves. EPA on the other hand is not common at all in plants grown on land, which is what makes its inclusion in purslane so special.
Beyond the omega-3s, purslane has been found to contain beta-carotene and glutathione, both of which are phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory capabilities. In addition, you can also find an abundance of vitamins and minerals in purslane, including vitamins A, C, and B, as well as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
We recognize that it’s not always easy to get your dose of omega-3s as a plant-based eater, but with a healthy mixture of nuts, seeds, and purslane, you should be able to get all you need. Bon appétit!