Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG
Fatty acids benefit all the systems of the body. They play an important role in the circulatory system by reducing inflammation and improving healthy cholesterol ratios. Fatty acids provide energy and prevent cancer. Healthy fatty acids may promote healthy weight, and can reduce discomfort by reducing inflammation. They are also needed for brain development and function. In fact, there is not a process in the body that fatty acids do not contribute to.
Inflammation is considered the root cause of diverse illnesses. It is implicated in the development of most of the serious diseases seen today. Choosing to consume healthy fatty acids plays a key role in your health now and for the future.
There are several kinds of fatty acids. Omega -7, palmitoleic acid, is an essential fatty acid. Essential fatty acids must be consumed as food or supplements; the body cannot manufacture them. Sea buckthorn is a source of omega -7 that is used in supplements.
Omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid, is plentiful in many foods. Except for people who eat a very low fat diet, supplementation is usually not needed.
Omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, is not abundant in most foods. Since alpha linolenic acid (ALA) cannot be made by the human body, it must be obtained through diet or supplementation.
Omega-9 fatty acid is plentiful and nonessential as the body can manufacture it.
Here are some tasty foods to include in your omega rich diet:
- Macadamia nut oil is a tasty source of omega-7. Use it for baking or frying. It is very tasty as a salad dressing ingredient.
- Leafy vegetables contain omega -6 and are low in calories and rich in vitamins.
- Whole grains contain omega-6 and are good sources of fiber and B vitamins. Wheat germ is especially rich in omegas.
- Flaxseed is the best source of omega-3. Flaxseed must be kept in the refrigerator after it is ground or it will become rancid. Try adding it to smoothies or yogurt. It loses much of its beneficial properties when cooked.
- Nuts and legumes contain omega fatty acids. Walnuts are a great source of omega -3 fatty acids. They may help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. All tree nuts contain omega -3 fatty acids. Peanuts and edamame are beneficial as well.
- Wild caught cold water fish, such as mackerel, salmon, or herring eaten twice weekly is recommended by many experts.
- Eggs from chickens that are fed a vegetarian, algae based diet provide omega-3 fatty acids.
Try to include a variety of foods in your diet. Avoid processed foods as they contain less healthy fats and can increase inflammation. Consider supplementation if you do not consistently eat a healthy diet or have health concerns.