Omega fatty acids are often mentioned as healthy and it is recommended to include them in our diet. In this article you will learn what omega fatty acids actually are, why they are beneficial for our body and in what foods you can find them in large quantities.
What are omega fatty acids?
Omega fatty acids are unsaturated fats that include polyunsaturated fats (like omega 3 and 6) or monounsaturated fats (like omega 9). Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids are all important for our diet and perform various functions in the body. It is essential to include a balanced amount of essential and non-essential fatty acids in your diet to maintain overall heart health and well-being.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 is a healthy polysaturated fat that is essential, which means that we must get it from the diet. It has important brain and heart health benefits and has anti-inflammatory effects.
There are three common types of omega 3 fatty acids:
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid): Found in nuts and seeds such as hemp seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds. The body uses it as an energy source, and studies show that it can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid): Found in oily fish (cod, salmon, mackerel, sardines) and seafood. Helps reduce inflammation in the body.
- DHA (docosaheksaenoic acid): Found in oily fish (cod, salmon, mackerel, sardines) and seafood. It is important for normal brain development and function.
Omega 6 fatty acids
Omega 6 is also polysaturated fat and isessential, which means we have to get it from the diet. However, too much omega 6 fatty acids are often consumed in the Western diet, which can be inflammatory and increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other diseases.
It is important to maintain the right balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acidsas well. The recommended ratio is approximately 4:1 or less, which means that we should consume 2-4 times more omega 6 than omega 3. However, the Western diet often contains a ratio between 10:1 – 50:1, while containing too much omega 6 and omega 3 deficiency.
Some common types of omega 6 fatty acids are:
- ARA (arachidonic acid): Found in poultry, meat, eggs, dairy products and mayonnaise.
- LA (linoleic acid): Found in vegetable oils such as soybean oil, hemp oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil. Omega 6 is also found in nuts and seeds, but in smaller amounts than in oils.
It is important to avoid excess omega 6 fatty acids, and consume above all whole foods with a high content of plant foods, such as vegetables, cereals, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. Foods with an ideal ratio of omega 3 and 6 are hemp foods – such as hemp oil, seed or protein.
Omega 9 fatty acids
Omega 9 is monounsaturated fat that is not considered “essential” because it can be produced by the body. However, consuming omega 9 brings more health benefits than saturated and trans fats.
One type of omega 9 is oleic acid, which is found in olive oil, hemp oil, almond oil, cashew oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, hemp seeds , and avocados.
Foods rich in omega fatty acids
If you are looking for foods rich in omega fatty acids, you should consider the following:
- Omega 3 fatty acids: Oily fish (cod, salmon, mackerel, sardines), seafood, nuts and seeds (hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds) that can help you access omega 3 fatty acids.
- Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids: Vegetable oils (soybean oil, hemp oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, peanut oil), nuts and seeds.
You should consider using hemp oil and hemp seeds in your diet, as they are rich in omega fatty acids. Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are excellent sources of omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids.
Omega fatty acids are important for our health and we should include them in our diet. Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids have different effects and benefits for our organism. It is important to maintain a balance between omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and avoid excess omega 6.
If you’re looking for foods rich in omega fatty acids, you can reach for oil fish, seafood, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. Also, don’t forget hemp oil and hemp seeds, which are excellent sources of omega fatty acids. When we include these foods in our diet, we can be sure that we are providing our body with the necessary omega fatty acids for heart health and overall well-being.