Nutritionists consider Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids to be “essential” fats and for a good reason. The human body needs them to properly function in almost every aspect, from producing healthy brain cells to maintaining and reassuring proper function of the nerves. Our body cannot produce these fatty acids alone and the only source of them is from our food.
These polyunsaturated fats are important for another reason. There has been increasing evidence that they help to reduce heart diseases. Some studies suggest that these fats can also prevent type 2-diabetes, Alzheimer and other diseases that are associated with cerebral deterioration caused from aging.
Omega 6 is normally considered to be a linoleic acid that is found in vegetable oils such as corn oil, soy oil and sunflower oil; also it is abundant in dried nuts and seeds. The American Heart Association recommends that around 5% to 10% of our daily calories come from fatty acids such as Omega 6.
Omega 3 is primarily found in fatty fishes such as salmon, mackerel and tuna; also it is abundantly found in walnuts and flax seeds but in smaller quantities than the latter.
Scientists are still discussing the optimal amount of fats, including how much Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids is required for a healthy diet. But for now, there are some simple dietary changes the majority of us can make in order to benefit our health.
Switch butter and cream for unsaturated fats
Saturated fats are often from animal origin and are one of the main reasons for high cholesterol LDL levels as this type of cholesterol blocks our arteries. Unsaturated fats are mostly vegetable oils, dried nuts and fish; all of these foods can help us reduce our cholesterol levels.
Some simple examples to eat healthier:
- Sauté your meats and vegetables in canola or another vegetable oil instead of butter.
- Use an olive oil mister to spray oil onto your salads instead of pouring it on.
- Soak your bread in olive oil instead of smearing butter on your bread.
- When preparing sauces that normal have cream, try replacing it with low-calorie yogurt.
- Add nuts to your daily menu.
Dried nuts are abundant in Omega 3 and Omega 6, which is why they have successfully helped many avoid heart diseases. In 4 different studies conducted in 2010, the investigators found that by eating a small portion of nuts weekly, the risk of dying by coronary diseases was reduced by a surprising 8.3%.
Eat fish for your health
Fish is rich in both types of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DPA). There is growing evidence that proves that both of these types of acids are important in reducing swelling and reducing risks of heart diseases. In fact, some researchers believe that measuring the omega 3 levels in the blood can help to predict the risk of cardiovascular diseases in the individual.