Fatty acids are the most fundamental element of a human being’s body. All of us need fatty acids to function properly. Fatty acids are crucial for the digestion of food during which our bodies break down food into ‘fats' known as fatty acids that make digestion of food easier for us. Their easy absorption into the blood is an added benefit.
I will talk about the four different types of fatty acids; their benefits and the foods which are a source of them. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are the two basic essential fatty acids that a human body does not have the ability to produce itself, but rather they need to be consumed through various supplements.
This fatty acid is also known as (Alpha Linoleic Acid), and as already mentioned, it cannot be naturally produced by a human body thus making omega 3 supplements as well as omega 3 rich foodsa vital part of a person’s diet in order for his body to produce enough omega 3 fatty acids.
The health benefits associated with this essential fatty acid are; a lower risk of heart diseases, maintenance of a health metabolism,curing of asthma and other allergies, weightloss together with the building of muscles, lesser risk ofcancer and diabetes, reduced joint pains, and a properly functioning nervous system. The basic health benefit of this lipid is its fight against inflammation in the body and to provide support for depression and other developing disorders and to regulate brain's cells. So many health benefits coming in from omega 3 is the reason behind its essentiality.
Over the year, many health specialists have told that walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, green vegetables such as spinach and kale, walnut and flaxseed oil, fatty fish such as salmon, and mustard oil are the foods that contain omega three fatty acids naturally. If a person’s diet lacks enough amounts of these foods, then physicians recommend fish oil capsules or another omega three supplements.
Just like omega 3, this is an essential fatty acid which the human body fails to produce itself and has to be consumed through diet.
The main uses of omega six fatty acids are the growth of body through building up of strong muscles and healthy reproduction. Otheruses of omega six includes; treatment for arthritis and asthma, and a healthy metabolism. The reason why omega 6 is good for you is the fact that it is crucial for your survival and the sustenance of your life.
The best source of omega six fatty acids or linoleic acid are; olive oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, mayonnaise, nuts, green leafy vegetables used in salads, chia seed oil, and many other fatty snacks. Physicians usually suggest that although these fatty acids are beneficial for us, we must be very careful about the quantity we consume. We shall discuss this in detail in the next section.
Some of you might not even know whether this fatty acid exists or not. But now you know that it does! The reason behind it uncommonness is the fact that researchers and health professionals are still observing and examining the health benefits of omega seven fatty acids and there is still a lot of research that needs to be done.
The most significant use of omega 7 fatty acid is that it is an ingredient in all foods that contain palmitic acid which is an extremely dangerous fat for the heart. The main purpose of omega 7 fatty acids is to reduce inflammation level in the body whenever palmitic acids increase it and also to increase insulin levels where palmitic acid decreases it. Omega 7 fatty acids are also known for reducing LDL cholesterol (dangerous cholesterol that blocks the arteries), maintaining a healthy metabolism, and help control diabetes.
There are only a few of this fatty acid such as fatty fish (Salmon and Tuna), and Macademia nuts which are not so famous but are the major source of omega 7 fatty acids. Since there are not many products that contain omega 7 fatty acids naturally, doctors tend to suggest an optimum intake of omega 7 supplements.
However, too much consumption of omega 7 can lead to an oily skin and over sweating that leaves a stingy feeling.
Omega 9 fatty acid, also called monounsaturated acid is a naturally produced acid in the body.
This fatty acid helps reduce inflammation, strengthens joints, and acts as a cure for many other diseases such as cancer, higher cholesterol levels, and diabetes. A major health benefit of omega 9 fatty acid is that it lowers LDL cholesterol which is bad and increases HDL cholesterol which is good for heart thus reducing the chances of other heart diseases.
The foods rich in omega 9 fatty acids are avocados, almonds, olive oil, pistachios, and other vegetable oils.
While omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are not naturally produced by the body, Omega 7 and omega 9 fatty acids are produced by the body itself. Also, it must be kept in mind that the health benefits of both omega 3 and 6 can only be achieved if taken in right amounts. Research has shown that previously our bodies had an omega 6 to omega 3 ratios of 2:1 but now since junk food has become very common this ratio has risen to 20:1 which means that there is a trend of eating 20 times more omega 6 than omega 3.
The main issue lies in the fact that omega 6 fatty acids are available in so many foods that we tend to consume it more and more unintentionally. This causes an imbalance in our diets thus causing critical syndromes and diseases.
Moreover, a ratio as high as this can lead to higher inflammation levels since omega 3 fatty acids decrease inflammation while omega 6 fatty acids increase inflammation level in the body. So overall, the inflammation level increases drastically if too much omega 6 fatty acids are consumed. This is the reason why almost all health experts ask people to cut down on oils, snacks, and junk food.
Increasing the amount of omega 3 to balance off the ratio can also be harmful for a human body because taking in more omega 3 fatty acids can lead to a failure of nervous system and less immunity against diseases.
Omega 7 and omega 9 have slight differences in them; while omega 7 is less common, omega 9 fatty acids are more common just like omega3 fatty acids. Also, omega 7 only helps decrease LDL cholesterol, but omega 9 fatty acid is more beneficial since it not only decreases the bad (LDL cholesterol) but also increases the good (HDL cholesterol).
Keeping in view all the information about the different types of omega fatty acids, we can now say that although all of them are healthy for a person, still they must be consumed in an appropriate combination to ensure a balanced diet and to avoid diseases from attacking us. So, the trick for all of you is to ensure that you consume equal ratios of all the omegas by altering your diet and including a combination of foods that provide all the omegas. A diet full of vegetables, fish, olive oil, and some nuts can help adjust omega levels in the body.
Don’t wait, get off of the couch, list down all these foods, and go for a grocery shopping!
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