Most of us have heard of the importance of Omega 3s, but do you know about Omega 6s & 9s? These are all examples of “fatty acids.” Most of our internal systems require fatty acids to work properly, including your skin, respiratory system, circulatory system, brain and organs. Let’s take a look at each one.
Omega 3 fatty acid (Alpha-linolenic acid) is an essential acid that improves brain function and may fight against cardiovascular disease. Omega 3 can also help with asthma, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, skin disorders, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression, macular degeneration and digestive problems. You can find it in foods like grains, spirulina, brazil nuts, hempseed oil, pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables, raw walnuts, flaxseed and fatty fish. Omega 3 is also important because it gets converted to DHA and EPA (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosatetraenoic acid). A lack of these acids has been associated with Alzheimers, attention disorders, cystic fibrosis, and other serious conditions.
Omega 6 (Linoleic acid), combined with Omega 3, produces many of the health benefits mentioned above. Your Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio should be 2:1, meaning you should be eating twice as much Omega 6 as you are eating Omega 3. Omega 6 can be found in seeds, nuts, grains, and leafy green vegetables.
Omega 9 (monounsaturated oleic and stearic acid) is produced naturally by the body, whenever there is enough of Omega 3 and 6 acids present. 3+6=9! Omega 9 plays a part in promoting heart health, healthy cholesterol and improving immune function. If you are not getting enough Omega 3 and 6, you can get Omega 9 from foods like avocados, pecans, cashews, almonds, hazel nuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts.
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Pike, Alyssa. “Oh My Omega: The Difference between Omega-3, 6, and 9 — IFIC Foundation.” IFIC Foundation, 14 Nov. 2017, foodinsight.org/oh-my-omega-the-difference-between-omega-3-6-and-9/.
Robertson, Ruairi. “Omega-3-6-9 Fatty Acids: A Complete Overview.” Healthline, 5 Oct. 2020, www.healthline.com/nutrition/omega-3-6-9-overview#omega-6.
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