So what is all the rave about when it comes to omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids? More or less, you're already familiar with omega 3 and you know that this is an essential fatty acid that contains brain-boosting DHA (Dehydroascorbic acid) as well as benefits for the heart.
Omega 3 comes primarily from cold-water fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring and cod. It is also available in walnuts and flaxseed but in lesser amounts.
Omega 6, on the other hand, comes from linoleic acid like corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and other plant oils. It can also be derived from nuts and seeds. It is recommended by the American Heart Association to get 5 to 10 percent of food calories from foods that are rich in omega 6 fatty acids.
Both omega 3 and omega 6 are needed by the body for various functions including:
- healthy cell building and proper brain and nerve function
- protection of the heart from disease
- lowering the risk of certain ailments including diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia
Take advantage of the nutritional benefits of omega 3 and omega 6 by doing the following changes in your diet.
Switch To Unsaturated Oils
Saturated fats, which are usually derived from animal fat, raise low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol. High levels of this type of cholesterol can clog the arteries and cause various types of health problems, primarily heart disease and stroke.
Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, are the good cholesterol. These come from vegetable oils like olive oil and canola oil, nuts, and fish. They help curb heart disease.
To switch to unsaturated oil:
- Stop using palm or coconut oil.
- Don't use butter or margarine either.
- If you need to use butter, go for something non-hydrogenated.
- Go for healthier cooking oils like canola and olive oil.
- Opt for oil-based salad dressings instead of creamy dressings.
Add Nuts To Your Dishes
Nuts are packed in omega 3 and omega 6. It's a great idea to snack on nuts everyday. Instead of potato chips or buttery popcorn, it would be better to munch on low-salt nuts and seeds.
You can also add them to your dishes. For example:
- If you're going to make stir-fries, you can add almonds or cashews.
- You can spruce up salads with walnuts.
- Make pesto sauce with ground walnuts.
- Bake chicken or trout with toasted almonds.
Eat More Fish
Fish is still the best source of omega 3.
It has two forms of omega 3 fatty acids:
- eiconsapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Both EPA and DHA are excellent in lowering inflammation and protecting against heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, if you have coronary heart disease, you should at least eat two servings of fish per week. One serving contains 3.5 ounces of cooked fish.