Are Potatoes High in Omega-3?


Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly important for health. The main omega-3s found in foods are ALA, EPA and DHA. Omega-3s provide many benefits for your heart, brain, eyes and more. This has led to interest in omega-3 content of different foods.

Potatoes are one of the most widely consumed vegetables globally. But can potatoes provide any of the beneficial omega-3 fats? Let's examine the omega-3 levels in potatoes and compare to other high omega-3 foods.

Do Potatoes Contain High Amounts of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Potatoes

The main dietary omega-3s are:

  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) found in plant foods.
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) primarily from seafood.

Potatoes contain extremely tiny amounts of the omega-3 ALA:

  • A 100-gram serving provides just 18 mg of ALA.
  • Percentage of calories from ALA omega-3 is 0.3%.

This ALA content is negligible compared to the daily recommendations. The adequate intake (AI) for ALA is 1.1 grams/day for women and 1.6 grams/day for men. One medium potato (173 grams) would provide a mere 9 mg of ALA, which is less than 1% of your daily needs.

Clearly, potatoes are not a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Top Dietary Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

If potatoes are too low in omega-3s to matter, what foods should you focus on for adequate intake of these healthy fats?

Here are some of the top dietary omega-3 sources:

Plant Sources of ALA

  • Flaxseeds have the most ALA, providing over 6,000 mg per 100 grams.
  • Chia seeds are also very high in ALA at 4,900 mg per 100 grams.
  • Walnuts contain 2,500 mg of ALA per 100 grams.
  • Hemp seeds provide 1,000–2,000 mg ALA per 100 grams.

Seafood Sources of EPA/DHA

  • Wild salmon is very high in EPA/DHA at over 1,500 mg per 100 grams.
  • Pacific sardines supply 1,500 mg omega-3s per 100 grams.
  • Mackerel provides around 1,000 mg per 100-gram serving.
  • Trout contains 600–1,000 mg EPA/DHA per 100 grams.

Other Sources

  • Flaxseed oil is the richest source of plant-based ALA oil at nearly 9,000 mg per tablespoon.
  • Fish oil capsules are a popular way to obtain concentrated EPA/DHA.
  • Algal oil made from algae provides vegetarian DHA.
  • Pasture-raised eggs have 110–200 mg omega-3s per egg.

Seafood, plant oils, nuts and seeds are among the best dietary sources for meeting omega-3 needs.

Why Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids Important?

Omega-3s provide wide-ranging benefits for health. Here are some of the top researched effects:

Heart Health

Omega-3s from seafood and plants:

  • Lower triglycerides and blood pressure.
  • Reduce atherosclerosis by improving artery function.
  • Cut inflammation and oxidative stress levels.
  • Decrease risk for heart attack, stroke and death from heart disease.

Brain Health

The omega-3 DHA:

  • Is a key structural component of brain tissue.
  • Enhances neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity.
  • Improves learning ability, cognition and memory, especially with low intake.

Eye Health

DHA benefits eyesight:

  • It's highly concentrated in the retina.
  • Supports development of vision in infants.
  • Reduces risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Mental Health

Omega-3 intake from seafood and plants:

  • Lowers risk for depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Improves outcomes in major depressive disorder.
  • Benefits behavior and cognition in ADHD.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3s alleviate symptoms of:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Asthma.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Type 1 diabetes.

Cancer Prevention

Higher omega-3 intake is linked to reduced risk for:

  • Breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.
  • Colorectal cancer.
  • Prostate cancer.

In summary, omega-3 fatty acids provide essential health benefits and should be obtained through your diet or supplements.

Nutritional Profile of Potatoes

Although potatoes don't offer omega-3 fats, they do supply other key nutrients.

One medium boiled potato (173 grams) contains:

  • 163 calories
  • 37 grams carbs
  • 4 grams fiber
  • 3 grams protein

Nearly all the carbs come from starch. Potatoes have a high glycemic index but provide fiber, vitamins and minerals that benefit blood sugar control.

Potatoes are an excellent source of:

  • Vitamin C: 45% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 27% DV
  • Potassium: 26% DV
  • Folate: 16% DV

They also supply iron, niacin, thiamine, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and antioxidants like carotenoids and phenolic acids.

Some proven health benefits of potatoes include:

  • Improved blood pressure and heart health.
  • Lowered oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Increased satiety and weight control.
  • Healthy digestion and gut microbiome.
  • Benefits for blood sugar regulation in diabetics.

While potatoes lack omega-3 fats, they remain highly nutritious and health promoting.

Strategies to Increase Omega-3s in Potatoes

There are a couple strategies that may somewhat raise the omega-3 content when eating potatoes:

Choose Colorful Potatoes

Purple, red and blue potatoes contain higher antioxidant anthocyanins. Some research shows purple potatoes have slightly more ALA omega-3s than white potatoes, though still not significant amounts.

Add Omega-3 Toppings

Turn baked potatoes into an omega-3-rich meal by loading them with healthy toppings:

  • Wild salmon
  • Avocado
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp hearts

Look for Biofortified Potatoes

Some companies are developing GM potatoes enriched with omega-3s from algal oil. However, these biofortified potatoes are still in research and not available to consumers yet.

Key Takeaways: Do Potatoes Provide Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

In summary:

  • Potatoes do not naturally contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. They only offer trace quantities of ALA.
  • The richest dietary omega-3 sources are seafood, plant oils like flaxseed oil, nuts like walnuts, and seeds like chia and hemp.
  • Potatoes are highly nutritious despite negligible omega-3 content. They provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
  • You can somewhat raise the omega-3s in potatoes by choosing purple potatoes and topping with salmon, walnuts, etc.
  • Omega-3 biofortified potatoes enhanced with algal oil are in development but not yet commercially available.


While potatoes are very low in omega-3 fatty acids, they remain one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. Ensure sufficient omega-3 intake by including fatty fish, flaxseeds, walnuts and oils in your diet, or taking a fish oil or algal supplement. Enjoy potatoes as part of a balanced diet with adequate amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.

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