When the omega fats were first discovered in the year 1923, they were actually thought to be a vitamin, called Vitamin F, before they were given a better clasification in the year 1929. There are several types of fats, and they are – monosaturated, saturated, polyunsaturated.

The omegas, believe it or not, fall under the category of polyunsaturated fats, which is actually under the unsaturated fats umbrella.But why are these fatty acids essential?

Familiar With the Omegas

Familiar With the Omegas

There is a pretty good reason why people seem to reffer to the omegas as essential part of every day life. Our bodies are in need of these fats for everything, starting from an optimal function of the brain, cell signaling, production of hormones, to protection of the cardiovascular system and support of the entire immune system.

But, there is a catch here – our bodies cannot produce these fatty acids on their own.When you consume fat, it is eitheer digested and used as an energy source, or it is stored in the fat tissue, or it is simply assimilated into the other fatty tissues and organs.

This is actually not a bad thing at all – it means that the brain cells and the cell membranes are all based on fat. Because the fatty acids are such an important part of the bodies, this is all being affected by what we consume, and we need to make sure that we are consuming the right kind of fat.

If you want to know all about the omega fatty acids, then keep on reading. There are only two crucial fatty acids that we are aware of, which are excellent for optimal function of the body, and they are alpha linolenic acid (omega 3 fatty acid) and linolenic acid (omega 6 fatty acid).

  • Omega 3 – there are 10 different types of the omega 3 fatty acid, but you can recognize the three most important ones – ALA (alpha-linolenic acid); DHA (docosahexaenoic acid); EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). The ALA needs to be converted into a more usable and active form of the DHA or the EPA, but this is a conversion process that leaves a lot to be desired because only a small portion of the ALA actually turns into EPA and even a smaller percentage of it turns into DHA. These are very small conversions, but are relying on the amount of nutrients such as copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B7, and they are all in the body in order to make the process successful. But if you are not getting these nutrients from your dieting plan, your coversion rate will not be as successful. The biggest amounts of the omega 3 fatty acids are found in mackerel, herring, shrimp, sardines, salmon, tuna, eel, algae, omega 3 rich eggs and grass fed animals. The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends that you consume about two servings of these surprisingly healthy fatty fish within each week. Remember that one serving is 3.5 ounces of cooked fish. If you are suffering from a heart disease, aim to get the most fatty acids from supplementing yourself with fish oil. Also, if you happen to be vegan, you can still get your portion of omega 3 fatty acids, you will not be indulging in DHA and EPA as your fish eating friends. If you want to enjoy plant based omega 3, you can find them in chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, nuts, spinach, kale, soybeans.
  • Omega 6 – the LA (linolenic acid) is the essential omega 6 fatty acid that the human body needs, but unfortunately, cannot create it on its own. The LA is not supposed to be confused with the omega 3 ALA. You can find the LA in certain meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy and plant oils such as corn, sunflower, soybean, peanut, cottonseed, safflower. These are the oils that are typically used in the processed foods. And because these is no such thing as a mackerel burger or algae fries, the omega 6 are considered to be more prevalent in the American diet than the omega 3s are. But, not all of the omega 6s are bad news. When it converts into the body, it becomes more helpful. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find and it is usually present in oils such as borage oil, black currant seed oil and evening primrose oil.
  • Omega 9 – well, the omega 9 is a lot different than the other two types of omega, because above all, the bodies can actually produce the omega 9 for themselves. Also, the omega 9 are all high in monsaturated fats, and this is why they are often referred to as simply that – monosaturated fatty acids. The omega 3 and the omega 6 are polyunsaturared fats. But, as opposed to the saturated fats, all of the above, the omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 are unsaturated fats. The omega 9 fat, also known as oleic acid, is usually found in animal fat, and in plant based oils such as – olive, sunflower, canola, nut oils. From this, you can notice that it is present in cooking oils.

Next, you need to know how to keep them all balanced. When the omega 3 and the omega 6 are converted into the body, the strive for converting into the same enzymes.

This is why you need to perform a balancing act in order to ensure that the conversion of omega 3 in the body does not get pushed aside. The scientists are still researching the perfect ratio between the omega 3s and the omega 6s, but so far they have all agreed that the general ratio that varies from 1:1 to 4:1 is considered to be good for the body.

Unfortunately, this is light years away from what all the Americans are consuming. A typical diet of the North American contains about 11 to 30 times more omega 6 than omega 3s.

This contributes to the rising rate of inflammatory disorders within the United States. But what does this all mean?

This means that your health depends on your lifestyle and your dietary choices. If you are consuming omega 6s from fast foods, you should definitely try and lower your omega 6s intake and raise your omega 3s intake.

But, if you  are choosing nutrient dense and whole foods, if you are activ and exercise plenty, and consuming most of your omega 6s through seeds, nuts and eggs, then all you need to do is make sure you add more omega 3s to your diet.

Protect yourself against any heart disease. The omega 3s have been shown to reduce the rate of mortality and and deaths that are caused by heart attacks or other sudden causes of death which may be the consequence of a coronary disease.

And when it comes to the omega 6, it can help you decrease the high blood pressure. The nuts contain a combination of omega 3 and omega 6, and are considered to be the best combo food there is.

But, the omega 9 are by fat the best fats because they are simply healthy monosaturated fats that can increase the level of good cholesterol in the body, and decrease the level of bad cholesterol. They can help with the removal of plaque buildup in your arteries, thus reducing your chances of a heart attack or a stroke.

Also, it has been a general rule that people who consume fish every day have been shown to develop fewer signs of dementia and other signs of aging of the brain.

Our bodies are in great need of these essential fats in order to function properly, but unfortunately most of us are not getting the proper amounts of them. Remember, fat is an important nutrient, it is not the enemy.