Omega Whats? – February 2015 Focus on Food

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Hi folks! Let’s talk about healthy fats, particularly Omega 3,6,9. I am sure you have heard about how essential Omega fats are for you and even seen supplement bottles labeled Omega 3,6,9.  I’m going to break it on down for you so you can be armed with the facts. Should you aim to ingest all three or should you just focus on Omega 3? Here goes:

Picture of Food Mega Omegas!

What is it about omega fatty acids that make them so special?  There are three main types that are frequently promoted: omega’s 3,6,and 9. Omega’s 3 and 6 fatty acids are unsaturated, essential fats that we must consume through food because our bodies do not make them.  Omega 9 fatty acids can be made in our body, but research has shown that eating them through foods also has health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for heart, joint, blood vessel, and brain health.  They help improve good cholesterol levels and also help prevent unnecessary inflammation in our bodies. Omega-6 helps lower LDL-cholesterol, maintain skin and hair health, metabolism regulation, regulate the immune system’s inflammatory response when we are sick or injured. Omega-9 fatty acids have been shown to improve cholesterol levels and improve insulin resistance. However, there is some controversy about how much omega-3 fats vs. omega 6 fatty acids we should eat on a regular basis.  Western diet’s tend to be high in omega-6 fatty acids because of the plethora of soy and sunflower oils used in many of our food products, while omega-3 rich foods like salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts tend to be eaten less. The current average ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 in the Western diet is 10:1.Picture of Fish Oil and Omega 3-6-9 SupplementsIt is recommended to have a ratio of 1:1 or 1:4.  Make a special effort to eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. It’s seriously important people.  Aim to eat fatty fish like salmon or tuna 2-3 times per week, and incorporate flaxseed, chia seeds, avocados, and walnuts to your meals and snacks.  Some research shows that eating too little Omega-3 fatty acids in comparison to Omega 6 can have adverse health effects. Some consumers choose to take a supplement to help them get enough Omega3 fatty acids.  While taking a supplement is OK, make sure you take the right type that will give you the most benefit.  Since we eat omega 6 and 9 through foods more easily, it is not necessary to take an omega 3,6,9  supplement. If you choose to take a supplement take a straight omega 3 supplement to better improve -your omega ratio.  Speak with your physician before you take any supplement and ask them about proper dosage. Too many omega-3  supplements can cause blood thinning in some people.  Above all remember to eat a variety of healthy fats for optimal health and a special effort to eat enough omega-3’s! Do it!
A Handy Mega Omega Chart
Handy Mega Omega Chart
Love ya!

The information contained in this material is for informational and educational purposes only, is meant to complement the advice and guidance of your qualified healthcare provider.

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