There is a certain amount of confusion surrounding this issue and hopefully this article will clarify and simplify the matter. The omegas, EFAs (essential fatty acids), are a vital component to a healthy diet and apart from Omega 9, our bodies cannot make them. Together, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. EFAs belong to the class of fatty acids called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
They are necessary for
. Stimulating skin and hair growth
. Maintaining bone health
. Regulating metabolism
. Maintaining reproductive capability
Health issues associated with a lack or imbalance are
. reduced growth
. lack of ability to fight infection and heal wounds
. heart disease
It would seem, however, that it is not enough to just get as many as we can, but in the correct ratio. Figures vary, but if you aim for a ratio of 2:1 in favour of Omega 3, you should be fine (estimates show that it is more like 1:20!). So a good starting point would be to take a look at which foods contain which EFAs:-
Oily fish - salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, pilchards, kippers, fresh tuna, anchovies, swordfish, carp, sprats.
Plant sources - flaxseed, canola oil
Oils: Sunflower, safflower, avocado, sesame, palm, apricot
Foods: Peanuts, almonds, pistachio, brazil nuts
I could go on adding to the list, but I think this demonstrates a trend, being, increase your intake of oily fish and decrease your intake of food cooked in oils high in Omega 6. Even olive oil is mostly Omega 6, although there is a trace of Omega 3, but nowhere near the 2:1 ratio we are looking for. Walnuts fair better than most nuts and you still need them in your diet, but in small quantities. Butter contains both Omegas, though not in very great quantity. Try to prepare your own food and if you do have a pre-packed meal or takeaway, take a moment to think about how it was cooked and the content.
This can be made by the body if the other two are present, so not necessarily an EFA. The ratio of all three then is 2:1:1, again in favour of Omega 3. You can find Omega 9 in avocados, olive oil and most nuts.
Source: http://EzineArticles.com and https://unsplash.com for the awesome photo :)
Annoying but necessary - I'm not a Healthcare Professional so please check with your Healthcare Professional before changing anything concerning your well being.