Fatty acids (omega 3-6-9 fatty acids) are an essential part of the body as they provide the much-needed energy to carry out the daily activities. When you consume complex carbohydrates, they are converted into fats and eventually turned into fatty acids, which becomes the main energy boosters.
Omega-3, omega-6, omega-9 fatty acids are three of the most important dietary fatty acids which have a plethora of health benefits. Healthy fats are required in order to maintain a healthy balance of all the nutrients and minerals in your body.
Let’s have a detailed overview of all these three essential fatty acids.
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids which means that they cannot be found in the body and can only be taken externally, through your diets. As they cannot be produced in the body, they are also known as essential fats.
There are mainly three types of omega-3 fatty acids: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which helps in reducing the effects of depression, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which works towards the development of your brain and thirdly, Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), benefitting the heart, immune system and nervous system.
Benefits of eating omega-3 fatty acids:
1. Enhance Heart Health: Omega-3 fatty acids work towards controlling certain cardio-vascular problems such as cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
2. Mental Well-being: These essential fats have also been considered to reduce the effects of depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, psychosis and other mental issues.
3. Weight management: Although sufficient research has not been done to support this claim, it is believed that omega-3 fats are useful to reduce your waist size and maintain optimum weight.
4. Fat-free liver: These fats help in reducing the fat which keeps on building on your liver over the years.
5. Brain development: If omega-3 fats have been consumed while a woman is pregnant, it can escalate the process of brain development in a fetus.
If there is a decrease in your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, in comparison to omega-6, it might lead one to suffer from inflammation and other chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and even cause heart failure.
Food products that contain omega-3 fatty acids:
There are no official guidelines as to how much omega-3 fats have to be taken every day but according to certain health experts, you should take 250-300 milligrams of fats every day. The food sources in which omega 3 fats can be predominantly found are largely certain types of fishes such as salmon, sardines, anchovies and mackerel.
On the other hand, in a vegetarian diet, omega-3 fats are found in chia seeds, walnuts and flaxseeds.
What are omega-6 fatty acids?
Omega-6 fatty acids, alike omega-3 fatty acids, are polyunsaturated fats. Your body is not capable of producing these fats; therefore you have to consume them externally through your diet or supplements. One of the major benefits of omega-6 fats is they provide energy and help in strengthening your immune system.
Be that as it may, it is necessary to take caution especially while eating omega-6 fats, as excessive consumption can increase the risk of inflammation and related inflammatory diseases. A healthy ratio between omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats is required.
Benefits of omega-6 fatty acids:
According to health experts, omega-6 fats help in treating some chronic diseases; however, enough research has not been done on this subject.
As per a study conducted by some experts, omega-6 fats help in reducing the fat mass of the body.
Food products that contain omega-6 fatty acids:
Omega-6 is predominantly found in vegetable oils and in those food items which are specifically cooked in the vegetable oils. They are also found in some nuts and seeds. It is largely present in a vegetarian diet, in the following food items:
- Cashew Nuts
- Corn Oil
- Sunflower Seeds
What are Omega-9 fatty acids?
Unlike omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, omega-9 fatty acids are basically monounsaturated, meaning they are not essential fats per se and can be produced by the body on its own. Nonetheless, if they are taken externally, your body may experience some health benefits.
According to a research conducted in 2015,it was found that if humans were provided with a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, experienced less inflammation and improved their insulin sensitivity in comparison to others who did not.
Benefits of omega-9 fatty acids:
1. Reduce the risk of stroke: According to research, omega-9 fatty acids have proven to enhance the functions of heart, reduce the chances of cardiovascular diseases and even reduce the potentiality of a stroke in the future.
2. Elevates mood: Omega-9 fat is also known as oleic acid, which is believed to elevate the levels of your mood, reduce depression and help you overcome anger. Moreover, the study has also revealed the presence of omega-9 fats leading to more availability of energy.
3. Helps with Alzheimer’s: Erucic acid is one form of omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid which is considered to enhance the cognitive function of humans and help in memory impairment. Such evidence reveals that omega-9 fatty acids can also be eaten to reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Foods containing omega-9 fatty acids:
As mentioned earlier, omega-9 fats are mostly available in vegetable and seed oils, nuts and seeds. However, the specific food items in which omega-9 is available are:
While following any kind of diet, you need to understand one thing and that is no food product has only one kind of fat. It is formed with a mixture of different kinds of fats, mixed in different proportions. Therefore, before eating any kind of food it is advisable to read the labels to check the ingredients, especially if you want to follow a stringent healthy lifestyle.
One of the best ways to inculcate more amounts of healthy fats in your diet, you can opt for a ketogenic or a keto diet. In a keto diet, all the healthy fats, inclusive of omega 3-6-9 fatty acids, have the highest proportion, in comparison to proteins and carbohydrates.