Fatty acids are vitally important for all systems of the body to function normally including the skin, respiratory system, immune system, reproductive system, circulatory systems, central nervous system (brain) and other body organs. The body can synthesize some of the fats it needs from the foods we eat to ensure healthy body function.
However, two important fatty acids cannot be synthesized in the body are derived from other sources like plants or animals (fish). These two fatty acids are called essential fatty acids (EFA). They include the alpha linolenic acid and the alpha linoleic acid. They are important because these basic fats are used to synthesize specialized fats called omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-9 fatty acid is a monounsaturated fat that is also known as oleic acid. It is not considered an essential fatty acid because of our body’s ability to produce it in small amounts. This can only happen if the essential fatty acids (EFAs) omega-3 and omega-6 are present – if the body is low on one of these EFA’s it cannot produce enough omega-9.
Omеgа-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acid (Alpha-linolenic acid) is an essential fatty acid that plays an important role in brain function and may help you fight against cardiovascular disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in many vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits. The best source of alpha linolenic acid is flaxseeds or flaxseed oil. For those seeking to increase their intake of omega-3 fats, more concentrated sources can be found in oils such as canola (also known as rapeseed), soybean, walnut and wheat germ.
Research on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid have shown that it may be useful for supporting the following: asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes and digestive difficulties.
Omеgа-6 Fatty Aсіdѕ
Omega-6 fats are found in seeds, grains, leafy vegetables, nuts, and vegetable oils (corn, soybean,cottonseed, sesame, sunflower). Other omega-6 fatty acids, such as gammalinolenic acid, and can be found in more rare oils such as black currant, borage, evening primrose and hemp oils. Most diets provide adequate amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.
You should be eating about twice as much omega-6 as omega-3, so that your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is 2:1, but in today’s world of fast food, frozen entrees, and high calorie snacks, it is not uncommon for most people to actually be getting about 15 times more omega-6 than omega-3.
A vegetarian diet is naturally low in fat, diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids should be included to improve a healthy lifestyle. It is important to take these two fats in right proportion. There is competition for the use of Omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids in the body, and therefore excessive intake of omega-6 fatty acids can be problematic . Too much consumption of omega-6 fatty acids can raise the blood pressure, lead to blood clots that can cause heart attack and stroke.
If you are unable to sufficient omega-3 fats in your diet, then you can rely on omega-3 supplements available at various drug stores to fulfil your dietary needs. These should be taken following a doctor’s prescription.
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