Omega Fatty Acids

Omega-3s and omega-6s are types of fats that our body needs but cannot make itself. They are considered essential because we must get them through food.

Omega-3s and omega-6s have opposite tasks in the body and we need a consistent ratio of both in order to operate properly.

Functions

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 3.26.14 PM

Research on additional benefits of omega-3s can be found here.

Food Sources

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 4.10.29 PM

Omega-6 fatty acids are plentiful in the western diet and we typically have no problem getting all we need from food. Omega-3 fatty acids in the EPA and DHA forms are more limited and come primarily from cold water fish.

When the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is skewed in the omega-6 direction, it can lead to chronic inflammation. When the omegas are balanced, inflammation is a good thing, like stopping bleeding when we cut our finger. When inflammation is promoted by too much omega-6 in the diet we can experience inflammation where it is not needed.

Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

In food we can find a few different versions of omega-3 fatty acids.

  • ALA: is found in plant sources of omega-3 and needs to be converted to EPA or DHA before it can be used.
  • EPA and DHA are versions of omega-3 that have been converted to forms that are readily available for use in our body.

Recommendations

Omega-3s:

Trout and rosemary on a wooden board

  • The American Heart Association recommends at least 1 gram of EPA/DHA per day for heart health and eating 12oz of fish per week. 2-4 grams of EPA/DHA per day is recommended as a therapeutic level for depression.
  • Choose omega-3 supplements with EPA and DHA, preferably from wild-caught fish or a DHA algae source if you are vegetarian.

 

Collage of pub food.

Omega-6s:

Eat less omega-6 rich foods. The American diet typically has too much omega-6 fatty acids in it. Do this by:

  • Focus on eating less processed foods made with inexpensive oils rich in omega-6.
  • Cook with extra virgin olive oil.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Restaurants 101: Healthy Happy Hour Tips | Zipongo - January 28, 2014

    […] Order Seared Ahi Tuna and use happy hour as an opportunity to get a dose of healthy Omega-3 fats. […]

  2. Top 8 Hidden Sources of Protein | Zipongo - February 4, 2014

    […] seeds are mostly known for their healthy Omega-3 fats. However, protein is also hiding inside these power seeds! A 1 ounce serving of chia seeds has […]

  3. Oversalted? | Zipongo - February 7, 2014

    […] non-processed foods will have better sodium, sugar,fiber,omega fatty acids, and other health properties than almost any packaged food you can […]

  4. Top 6 Immune Boosting Foods | Zipongo - March 14, 2014

    […] high fat content have two nutrients that help with immunity: Omega-3 fatty acids and selenium. The omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation in our body, which can help to prevent various diseases. Selenium helps […]

  5. The Skinny on Fried Foods | Zipongo - April 14, 2014

    […] While popular Omega-3′s are known for being heart healthy and anti-inflammatory, Omega-6′s work in an opposite manner to promote inflammation and clotting in our bodies. The oils typically […]

  6. Mercury in Fish | Zipongo - April 30, 2014

    […] Fish contains low amounts of saturated fat and high amounts of omega-3′s (that have tons of healthy functions).  Even pregnant women and children are advised to consume small amounts of low-mercury […]

Leave a Reply