You’ve probably heard about Omega 3 fatty acids and how they can be beneficial to your health and even your weight loss goals. Certain types of fats are essential to optimal health. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are two essential fatty acids in that they are not made by the body and must be consumed in our diets. Omega 6 is a lot more readily available as it is present in a variety of commonly used vegetable and cooking oils, meats, and other food items. Omega 3’s are what many people lack in the necessary amount for optimal health.
Omega 3’s are polyunsaturated fats that have shown to be beneficial to the body in a number of ways. They are made up by primarily three types:
ALA, (alpha-linolenic acid) comes from plant sources and must be consumed and is available in a wide variety of nuts and seeds. It is utilized as energy and can also be converted to the two other main Omega 3 types, EPA and DHA (which come primarily however from fatty fish sources).
EPA (eicosapentaenoic) has a number of anti inflammatory properties. Studies have also shown that EPA along with DHA may be responsible for the prevention of cardio vascular disease.
DHA (docosahexaenoic) is important for proper nervous system and cognitive function. It’s presence in adequate amounts is believed to help combat the onset of diseases like Parkinson’s disease for example.
Most people don’t get nearly enough Omega 3 to balance out an excess of the more commonly consumed Omega 6. (The average person registers in the 40:1 range, Omega 6 to Omega 3) Research has shown that having a diet higher in Omega 3’s, with a more ideal 2:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3, can reduce inflammation and is believed to help prevent heart disease, arthritis, metabolic slowdown, and combat certain types of cancer.
Structuring your diet to regularly consume high sources of Omega 3 fatty acids like fish oil from cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, cod, etc.) flax seed oil, leafy green vegetables, walnuts, and other leading sources of the Omega 3’s can help create a more ideal balance that will be of a greater over health and dietary benefit to most people.