Once you really get to know your omegas from your onions, I think you’ll agree that a daily dose of essential fats is key to leading a healthy, vibrant life.
So let’s take a closer look at these beneficial omegas:
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
So far in this series, I have discussed good fats for health.
I have identified that at least one-third of our diet needs to come from polyunsaturated fats, a very important essential fat that our body cannot make.
Polyunsaturated fats provide us with two essential fatty acids. These are used as building blocks for many cells and molecules within our body, which requires a balance of both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids for good health.
- The grandmother of the Omega 3 fatty acids family is Alpha-linolenic acid
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
The Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, are the fats that make the hormonal substances known as series-3 prostaglandins.
They help to reduce the stickiness of our blood, maintain water balance in the body’s tissues, and control cholesterol and fat levels.
The long-chain fatty acids DHA and EPA are produced by algae. This, in turn, is eaten by fish such as mackerel, sardine, or salmon, which we discuss in the article, “Omega 3 Foods“.
Short Chain Omega-3
The other form of Omega-3 is ALA, this is known as a “short-chain” fatty acid.
ALA is found in flax known as linseed, hemp, pumpkin, nuts, omega 3 fatty acid-rich eggs, and algae. It is also found in vegetable oils, a topic we discussed in greater detail in the article, “Healthy Edible Oils“.
It is important to note that roughly only between 5 and 10% of this short-chain fatty acid gets converted to EPA and DHA.
The Naked Truth
Our diet is very deficient in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, because they are prone to damage in cooking and food processing.
Yet both our brain and our bodies are very dependent on this most precious of essential fatty acids.
They are essential for correct brain function, improving our vision, learning, moods, and coordination.
Sadly, because our diet is so deficient in these fatty acids, cardiovascular disease, depression, mental health, and a whole host of other diseases is on the rise.
But the good news is that there are some really good fats for health, which you can read all about here.