The name Omega Fatty Acids sounds like a negative thing. It is absolutely the opposite. It may sound counterproductive to say you need this fat in your diet, but you do – it’s the good fats. Omega Fatty Acids are something that your body needs. Your body cannot make these essential fats, so you have to ingest them. There are two types – Omega 3 and Omega 6. They both supply key nutrients to your body, the difference is really just what foods contain what fatty acid and Omega 3’s are a bit harder to find. The benefits of both are crucial to your body’s health.
The Omega 6 fatty acid is called Gamma-Linoletic Acid or GLA. GLA fights inflammation. Steven D Ehrlich, NMD explains how that happens: “Much of the GLA taken as a supplement is converted to a substance called DGLA that fights inflammation. “ Thus, researchers and physicians have begun using Omega 6 (GLA) in fighting rheumatoid arthritis.
Hair and Skin
Omega 3 and 6 both help to stimulate growth of hair and skin. Got thinning hair or rough skin? Eating foods fortified with both will help to grow and strengthen hair. As for the skin, it helps to regenerate new skin, keeping your body protected while allowing old, dry skin to be sloughed off. The result, a younger feel and look to both hair and skin.
Omega 3 is called Alpha-Linoletic Acid or ALA. Its largest job in our bodies is to help promote healthy brain function. Memory and learning are improved by taking these essential fatty acids. Right now researchers are using Omega 3 in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, with some indications that it is helpful in conjunction with other treatments. They are also beginning to study people suffering with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Though the studies are too new to give solid proof, the hope is it will help with learning and focus.
Omega 6 has been shown to help diabetics who suffer from Diabetic Neuropathy. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Some studies show that taking gamma linoletic acid (GLA) for 6 months or more may reduce symptoms of nerve pain in people with diabetic neuropathy. People who have good blood sugar control may find GLA more effective than those with poor blood sugar control.” This is great news for those who want a way to control pain without the use of medications
Omega 6 and Omega 3 both have shown to help with the following: metabolism regulation, bone health, lowers cholesterol, heart health and supports the immune system.
Omega 3 and 6 play a role in the production of Omega 9 fatty acids. Omega 9 fatty acids are produced by the body but only when it is provided with enough Omega 3 and 6. These Omega 9 fatty acids also support the heart and immune system and are very important to overall health.
Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in: Salmon, Tuna, and fish oils. For those of you who are vegetarian or don’t like the idea of fish (some have concerns about mercury levels) then soybean oil, canola oil, flaxseeds and flaxseed oils and walnuts are another option.
Omega 6 fatty acids can be found in: sunflower seeds and oil, soybean oil (Omega 3 & 6), grape seed oil, potatoes, green peppers, onions, chicken, turkey and a huge list of others. It is much more common than the Omega 3 fatty acids.
Both Omega 3 and 6 can be found in supplements too but the best way to get them into your system is to eat foods rich in these fatty acids. So, do not let the term “fatty acid” make you shy away from these foods. For once, this is fat that you want in your diet.