I’m sure we’d all love to have our heart, brain and blood functioning at an optimal level. Most of us know we have to include Omega-3s in our diet but we often neglect the 6s and 9s. We thought we’d give you a bit of a run down on each so you understand why all Omega supplements are so important to attaining greater health and wellness.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
What are they?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat and are considered an essential fatty acid because they cannot be manufactured by the body. Which means we must obtain omega-3 from foods such as fish, nut and plant-based oils, such as canola oil and sunflower oils.
What are the sources of these Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
- Canola, Soybeans, Walnuts, and Flaxseed
- Oily fishes such as Herring, Mackerel, Salmon, and Sardines
What are the health benefits of Omega-3s?
For a start, they correct imbalances in modern diets that lead to health problems and can help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer, as well as lower “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels, enhancing the elasticity of blood vessels and preventing the build-up of harmful fat deposits in the arteries.
Omega-3s can also aid brain and eye development and can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
What are they?
Omega-6 fatty acid is also a polyunsaturated fat necessary for human health because it cannot be made in the body. Which means we must obtain omega-6 fatty acids by consuming foods such as meat, poultry and eggs.
What are the sources of Omega-6 Fatty Acids?
- Soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil , peanut oil, cottonseed oil, and rice bran oil
- Peanut oil, meat, eggs, dairy products
What are the health benefits of Omega-6 Fatty Acids?
Most omega-6 fatty acids are consumed in the diet from vegetable oils, such as linoleic acid. However, excessive amounts of linoleic acid can contribute to inflammation and result in heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis and depression.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids: Striking the Balance
The important thing is to find a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet, so that both substances can work together to promote health. An improper balance and excess in omega-6 fatty acids promotes the health problems listed above. So a healthy diet should consist of roughly two to four times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.
Note: a typical diet may contain 11 to 30 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-9 Fatty Acids
What are they?
Omega-9 fatty acids are from a family of unsaturated fats that are commonly found in vegetable and animal fats. These fatty acids are also known as oleic acids or monounsaturated fats and can often be found in canola, sunflower, olive and nut oils. Unlike omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, omega-9 fatty acids are produced by the body, but are still beneficial when they are obtained in food.
What are the sources of Omega-9 Fatty Acids?
- Oleic acid – Canola oil, Sunflower Oil, and Almonds
Specially developed oils for foodservice can reduce key factors that contribute to heart disease and diabetes. Canola, sunflower, olive, and nut oils have significant levels of omega-9 and oils produced from these sources have emerged as healthier, highly functional replacements for partially hydrogenated cooking oils, which are usually laden with unhealthy trans and saturated fats.
What are the health benefits of Omega-9 Fatty Acids?
Omega-9 fatty acids have been found to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Because they have been shown to increase “good” cholesterol and decrease “bad” cholesterol, they aid the elimination of plaque buildup in the arteries, which may cause heart attack or stroke.
How do they add up?
Omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids all serve different functions within the body. Which means to maintain overall heart health and general wellness we need to incorporate balanced proportions of both essential and non-essential fatty acids. In fact, adults should receive 20-35% of their energy from dietary fats, avoiding saturated and trans (“bad”) fats, and increasing omega-3 fatty acids.