The three major fatty acids are omega-3-6-9 fatty acids and we are here to tell you all about them!
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most important of all types of fatty acids and as these aren’t naturally produced by humans, we have to consume them from food items. This is why these fatty acids play a monumental role in the physiology of our body and health and regarded as essential fats.
Benefits and side effects
These fatty acids hold numerous health benefits including a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a reduced risk of blood clots as well. It also helps to raise the level of “good” cholesterol and benefits your cell membranes to a great extent.
Research suggests that these are also very helpful in reducing fat from your liver, promoting weight loss, and fighting inflammation.
However, one should be careful to not consume an excess of omega-3 supplements or sources as too much of fish oil can have some serious side effects on your health. Besides that, it can also upset your stomach and make you nauseous at times.
So, it is not recommended to take more than 3mg of fish oil in a day.
You can either obtain these from your dietary supplements and food items, or from omega-3 supplements which are special pills and capsules consisting of this fatty acid in the form of fish oil.
Here are the foods that contain a good amount of these fatty acids:
- Fish, especially salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel.
- Nuts and seeds including almonds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
- Seed oils such as soybean oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, etc…
- Brussel sprouts.
- Canola oil.
- Soy beverages (like soy milk).
Omega-6 fatty acids
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in many parts of your body and help to improve the functioning of your cells along with fueling more energy into your immune system.
Benefits and side effects
Studies have shown that the way omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart disease, omega-6 also helps with the same. These fatty acids tend to lower your “bad cholesterol” levels while simultaneously increasing the “good” levels of the same.
But too much consumption of these fatty acids can have some severe consequences including high blood pressure, blood clots, and can even retain our body of water if not taken moderately.
Although omega-6 supplements are available, because these fatty acids are quite easily found in our regular diet, it is not really necessary to take the supplements.
But people with certain conditions like psoriasis, arthritis, diabetes, eczema, etc., might want to consult a doctor regarding taking these supplements as per the requirement.
Omega-6 fatty acids are available in plenty of food items and the best part is that some of these foods are probably already a part of our diet!
- Soybean and soybean oils.
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, cashew nuts, black currant seeds, etc…
- Safflower oil.
- Avocado oil.
- Peanut butter.
- Evening prime rose seeds and evening prime rose oil.
- Borage seeds and borage oil.
- Sunflower seeds.
- Corn oil.
Omega-9 fatty acids
These acids unlike omega-3 fatty acids are not that necessary as the body naturally produces these. But consuming these fatty acids through our diet is still recommended more than taking its supplements.
Benefits and side effects
Omega-9 fatty acids help in increasing the level of “good” cholesterol and in decreasing “bad” cholesterol levels, just like the other two fatty acids do. These also play an anti-inflammatory role and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by eliminating the plaque build-up that tends to gather in the arteries.
Too much consumption of omega-9 fatty acids through supplements or food items might also lead to digestion problems like indigestion, diarrhoea, incessant burping, and nausea.
Omega-9 fatty acids are present in a number of food items:
- Nuts like cashews, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts.
- Different types of oils including avocado oil, peanut oil, cashew nut oil, almond oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, and olive oil.
- Seeds, especially chia seeds.
- Almond butter.
Here are some effective ways to incorporate these food items in your diet:
- Instead of using regular oil, start cooking your food with olive oil, avocado oil, etc., for increased health benefits.
- Develop a habit of eating a handful of nuts and/or seeds at least twice a day.
- Choose the right fish and have that as a meal twice or thrice every week. You could even have that twice every couple of weeks if your intake of the other food items is high.
- Go for cured meat.
- Have a proper breakfast and keep switching the food items. For instance, if one day you have eggs and bread for breakfast, then you could go for something else the next day and pair it up with yoghurt, juice or milk, or fruits and vegetables.
- Brussel sprouts for lunch along with some soup or stew is also an extremely healthy option.
- Try developing the taste for food made from different types of oils including those extracted from nuts and seeds. This is because these are not only an incredibly rich source of omega-3-6-9 fatty acids but also reap numerous other health benefits, thanks to their nutrient and vitamin content.
- Soy milk is a good substitute for regular milk. Consume more soy products like tofu and soybeans as well.
Since the food sources of all the three omega fatty acids are almost the same, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to incorporate these food items in your diet. But it is utterly necessary to maintain the level of consumption as well as the ratio of omega-3-6-9 fatty acids and make sure that you are not taking them in either too little amounts or an excess amount because both of these can bring up some serious health concerns.