Friday, 30 March 2012

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids

There are a number of omega fatty acids but only omega-3 and omega-6 are considered essential fatty acids. These essential fatty acids are acids that need to be ingested by humans as we cannot synthesize them but we require them for good health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Omega-3s come mainly from fish and plant oils and have many health benefits. Circulatory problems, such as varicose veins, appear to benefit from the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.

Research has also shown that a healthy consumption of omega-3s will help against conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and cardiac arrhythmias.

Some research, which is in its early stages, suggests that omega-3s may even help fight depression and anxiety. However, this theory is in the early stages and should not be taken as fact just yet.

On another note, some studies seem to indicate that there is a good chance that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-cancer affects.

Omega-6 Fatty Acid

The main sources of omega-6 fatty acids come from palm, soybean, rapeseed and sunflower oils, which between them produce the majority of omega-6 in terms of human consumption.

It is important to note that excessive consumption of omega-6s can produce negative impacts on health and has been associated with arthritis, inflammation and even cancer. The amount consumer would have to be a significant amount, but it is something that we should be wary of.

What are the differences of the omegas?

Each of the omega fats are essential to the body, however we cannot produce it naturally so we must consume it someway. However, the different omegas are different in structure and the roles in our body.

The differences are actually very complicated, but what it appears to come down to is that omega-3s have anti-inflammatory benefits as well as helping fight heart disease and omega-6s support that skin and help to lower the cholesterol of the blood.

Sources of Essential Fatty Acids

As mentioned previously the human body must ingest essential fatty acids and fortunately there are many food sources available in order for us to get a healthy amount into our body. Fish, leafy vegetables, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and many oils are good sources of omegas and there are of course many supplements available that provide essential fatty acids.


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