Useful and harmful fats: facts about Omega-3 fatty acids

Do you think all the fats of our diet are the same? Think about it again

If you ask people what group of foods they should avoid, most likely they will respond with “fats.” It is true that in large quantities, some types of fat are harmful to your health (not to mention your waistline), there are some fats, without which we simply can not live.

Among them, omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods, including nuts, certain fruits and vegetables, as well as in cold-water fish such as herring, mackerel, sturgeon and anchovies.

They not only play an important role in the health of the membrane of every cell of our body, but also help protect us from a number of key health threats.

The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, also help reduce the symptoms of hypertension, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, joint pain and other rheumatoid problems, as well as certain skin conditions. Some studies have even shown that omega-3 fatty acids can stimulate the immune system and protect us from a number of diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

How can omega-3 fatty acids do so many miracles for human health? One way, according to experts, is to help the body produce chemicals that help control inflammation in the joints, blood and tissues.

But even more important is their ability to reduce the negative effects of yet another important type of fatty acids, known as omega-6 fatty acids. Contained in foods such as eggs, meat poultry, cereals, vegetable oil, baked goods, as well as margarine, omega-6 are also considered important fats. They support the health of the skin, reduce cholesterol, and also help make our blood “sticky” so that it can clot. But when omega-6 is not combined with enough omega-3, problems may arise.

When the blood is too “sticky”, it helps to form a blood clot, and can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. But as soon as you get Omega-3, the risk of heart problems immediately decreases.

The latest studies show that the most healthful effect of essential fatty acids is achieved through proper balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The ratio should be approximately 4 parts of omega-3 to 1 part of omega-6.

For most of us this ratio is much worse. A typical diet has a ratio of about 20 to 1 to 20 omega-6 to 1 omega-3, which is already a problem. With a reduction in omega-6 intake, you can increase your intake of omega-3 from food.

How to get what we need

Omega-3 fatty acids are not a single nutrient, but a complex of nutrients, including eicosapentaenoic acid and decosahexaenoic acid. Both are kept in huge quantities in cold-water fish, which is one of the reasons for their lack in so many people.

Over the past few years, experts have frequently published warnings about mercury and other harmful chemicals contained in fish. This caused many people to abandon the consumption of fish, which is a big mistake.

People wrested all the advice of experts from the context, even those for whom these tips were intended first, that is, children and pregnant women, did it. In addition, according to experts, even if you strictly follow all warnings, according to the new advice, the consumption of 350 grams of fish variety every week is safe for everyone. This amount is about half of what we need to get enough omega-3.

The recommended dose (for omega-3) is two servings of fish per week.

According to experts, those wishing to protect their hearts should consume different kinds of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna and mackerel) at least twice a week. Those who have heart problems should receive 1 gram of omega-3 per day, preferably from fatty fish. About 50 grams of fish contain 1 gram of omega-3.

But even if you do not like fish (or decided not to eat it), you can still get what you need from your diet. The answer lies in plants rich in omega-3, in particular flaxseed.

It can be safely said that this is the most powerful plant source of omega-3. Although flaxseeds do not contain eicosapentaenoic acid or decosahexaenoic acid, experts say it is a rich source of another omega-3 acid known as alpha-linolenic acid, which the body can use to produce eicosapentaenoic acid and decohexaenoic acid.

Linseed seeds are available in many shops, and a large number of stores still sell whole flax seeds, ground seeds or flaxseed oil. Although linseed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid, it is much better to choose whole flax seeds, because they also contain 3 grams of fiber per tablespoon, as well as useful phytoestrogens. Other sources of omega-3 are rapeseed oil, broccoli, cantaloupe, beans, spinach, grape leaves, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower and walnuts.

Approximately 30 grams or one handful of walnuts contains about 2.5 grams of omega-3. This is about 100 grams of salmon.

In addition, by consuming more omega-3, you can help your heart by replacing some omega-6 fatty acids from cooking oils with the third type of omega fatty acids known as omega-9 (oleic acid). It is a monounsaturated fat, contained mainly in olive oil.

Although it is not considered “important” (the body can produce a certain amount of omega-9), replacing oils rich in omega-6, you can help restore balance between omega-3 and omega-6, and also get some additional health benefits.

Factors found in olive oil can also help increase the amount of good cholesterol that can also help your heart.

Biological supplements against natural foods

If you think that perhaps the easiest and most low-calorie way to get omega-3 is from a capsule of fish oil, do not rush. Many nutritionists say that this is a bad idea.

In natural food, there is something that, getting into the body, is absorbed by them for more than 90%, while biological additives are absorbed by our body only by 50%.

In addition, since the components of different foods work together, they can offer a more complete and balanced source of nutrients.

In fish there can be more than just omega-3, which will be beneficial for health. The fish can contain amino acids that provide benefits that we can not find in the biological supplement of fish oil.

And if you think that fish oil capsules will help you avoid getting infected with fresh fish, think again. Since biological supplements are not regulated by law, some of them may contain concentrated quantities of the same toxins that are found in fresh fish. And since fat is very concentrated, supplements can also produce an unpleasant body odor.

More importantly, experts say that there is a danger of an overdose of fish oil supplements, especially if you consume more than recommended. This can increase the risk of bleeding or bruising. This can not happen if you get the necessary substances with food.

The only time that biological fish oil supplements can really help is when you need to reduce the level of triglycerides, dangerous blood fats associated with heart disease. Experts recommend that people with very high levels of triglycerides in the blood receive from 2 to 4 grams daily of omega-3 (containing eicosapentaenoic acid or decosahexaenoic acid) in capsules, but only after consulting with their doctors.

The key factor here is to never take these supplements without the doctor’s consent. This is not the case when you can take anything at your discretion.