What are omega 3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats – a fat type that the human body cannot make on its own. They can also be referred to as healthy unsaturated fat.
Since the human body cannot make these fatty acids on its own, it is quite important to fulfil the requirements of these essential fats from our diet. Therefore, you should include the food items that are rich in omega-3 to ensure that your body is enriched with this essential fatty acid.
One of the major roles of omega-3 fatty acids is to ensure proper development of the eye, nerve, and brain in the infants. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be trusted to improve the immunity system along with lowering the risks of heart diseases.
The three different types of omega-3 fatty acids are as follow:
- Alpha linoleic acid (ALA):
This is the most common omega-3 fatty acid that the body needs. The main function of this type of fatty acid is to provide the required energy to the body. Besides this, this fatty acid can also be converted into the other type of omega-3 fatty acids.
There is a very little percentage of ALA that gets converted to the other types of omega-3 fatty acids. Also, the process is quite inefficient. You can get ALA from foods like flaxseeds, canola oil, chia seeds, walnuts, etc.
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA):
DHA is that essential omega-3 fatty acid that forms nearly 8% of the human brain. This type is very crucial and important for the normal functioning and development of the brain. It also ensures that your eye’s retina is in good form.
It can be easily found in fatty fish, fish oil, meat, eggs, and dairy products obtained from grass-fed animals.
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA):
This type of omega-3 fatty acid is mainly found in animal products, especially in fatty fishes and fatty oils.
EPA is known to perform many important functions in the human body. Its main function is to produce Eicosanoids – a chemical that is helpful to reduce inflammation. With the balanced amount of EPA, it will be quite convenient for your body to fight against inflammation.
Along with this, EPA is also known to reduce the symptoms of depression in the human body. This can help keep the person happy and energetic all day long.
Foods High in Omega-3:
If you are looking for the food items which are rich in omega-3, then here is the list of some of the food items that you can consider:
- Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
- Fatty fish – salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, etc.
- Canola oil
- Fortified food items including yogurt, juices, etc.
What are Omega 6 fatty acids?
Quite similar to omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids are also known as healthy unsaturated fat. They can also be referred to as polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Omega-6 fatty acids are mostly used for producing enough amount of energy for the body. The balanced amount of omega-6 fatty acid ensures that the body is always charged up to perform all sorts of physical activities.
This fatty acid is also crucial in regulating our body’s genes along with promoting and enhancing the immunity system. It can also be trusted to minimize the risk of blood clotting and the symptoms of dermatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Since our body cannot produce enough amounts of this essential fatty acid; we must include the same from our diet. You should always keep a check to include the required food items in your diet that can provide you with the desired amount of omega-6 fatty acids.
The different types of omega-6 fatty acids are as follow:
- Linoleic acid (LA):
It is one of the most common types of omega-6 fatty acid that is mainly used for producing the right amount of energy for the body. It is usually converted into large omega-6 fats which are pro-inflammatory.
- Arachidonic acid (ARA):
This type can be trusted to reduce the body inflammations in the best possible way by producing eicosanoids. ARA is also beneficial for improving and strengthening the immune system of the person.
- Gamma-linolenic (GLA):
This is one of those types of omega-6 fatty acids which get converted to other fatty acids that are needed by the body. The large portions of this fatty acid are converted to Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA).
It can be found in oils like evening primrose oil and borage oil. The accurate amount of this type in the body ensures to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA):
Foods High in Omega-6:
Here is the list of some of the food items that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Make sure you include these items in your routine to get the desired amount of this fatty acid.
- Nuts and seeds
- Safflower and sunflower oils
- Meat and poultry
- Eggs and fish
What are Omega 9 fatty acids?
We usually are only aware of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but for much of our knowledge, our body also needs another important fatty acid which is – omega-9 fatty acid. As a matter of fact, most people may not even be aware of the importance of omega-9 fatty acids for the human body.
The omega-9 fatty acid is a monounsaturated non-essential fatty acid which is one of the most abundant fats in most of the body cells. Consuming a sufficient amount of omega-9 fatty acids offers many amazing health benefits.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are termed as essential fatty acids as our body needs them but cannot produce them on its own. On the other side, omega-9 fatty acid is termed as a non-essential fatty acid because our body is capable of producing it.
Oleic acid is the most common type of omega-9 fatty acid found in our diet. This type of fatty acid helps in reducing the inflammation effects along with having better insulin sensitivity than the others. Other than oleic acid, the other types of omega-9 fatty acids that the body needs are:
- Mead acid – it offers amazing inflammatory properties
- Nervonic acid – it is that type of omega-9 fatty acid that is responsible for the healthy functioning of the brain. It can easily be found in salmon, various nuts and seeds.
- Erucic acid – this type of omega-9 fatty acid has some concerns related to the fact that its excess amount may be dangerous for humans. Research work is currently being done to come to any conclusion.
Besides this, the accurate consumption of omega-9 fatty acids helps in reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in the body, along with enhancing the level of good cholesterol. This fatty acid also plays a major role in balancing the blood sugar level in the body.
Foods High in Omega09:
Vegetables, seed oils, nuts, and seeds are some of the main sources to find omega-9 fatty acids. There is no specific amount to take this fatty acid as it is a non-essential fatty acid.
Some common sources of omega-9 fatty acid are as follow:
- Olive oil
- Almond oil
- Peanut oil and avocado oil
- Cashew nut oil
- Almonds, cashew, and walnuts
What should be the ratio of omega 3-6-9?
The combination of all these omega-3-6-9 fatty acids provides an accurate balance of the required fatty acids in the body. The general and recommended ratio of these fatty acids is 2:1:1 for omega-3:6:9.
It is quite necessary to focus on your diet so that you can get the required balance of omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. If it is not possible to get the accurate amount using the regular diet, then it is advised to take the necessary supplements for these fatty acids.
For any other doubts or concerns, please do comment below. We will offer you the best hand of information to clear all your confusions.
Whether you want to gain muscle sustainably, lose weight, or do both—Mirganshi is the person you reach out to! She has a B.Sc in Nutrition and Dietetics from Lovely Professional University (LPU) and certification from Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute (GGFI). She grew up and completed her schooling in Jaipur, Rajasthan back in the early 2000s. Currently, she helps hundreds of individuals in correcting their diets, lifestyle habits, and physical health.
She currently lives with her husband in Navi Mumbai, and they have been happily married since 2017. She is also a fitness freak herself and has completed several marathons like TATA Mumbai Marathon, Pinkathon, and more! In her free time, she likes to listen to music while writing her journal. Discipline is her best friend, and she ensures to impart this virtue in her clientele as well.
Due to her impeccable grip on body nutrition and well-being, Mirganshi understands precisely what is right for your body and recommends/reviews products she only truly has faith in. Mirganshi is also a champion for mental health advocacy and understands how keeping your brain fit and mind sane is an essential part of well-being.