Now that you know heart-healthy fats exist, adding flavor and texture to your food while providing energy and vitamins to your body, I thought this would be a good time to introduce you to my two friends omega-3 and omega-6. Both of these guys are essential fatty acids. ‘Essential’ means you need to eat foods containing these two fatty acids because your body is unable to make them by itself.
Omega-3 can be found in cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel), walnuts, flaxseed, hemp oil, canola oil, and soybean oil. While omega-6 can be found in most vegetable oils, especially safflower oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil. Both of these fatty acids are really good for you but omega-3 is especially good for you because it combats cardiovascular disease by: decreasing clot formations and favorably affecting heart rhythm. But here’s the catch…
Not to get too scientific on you but omega-3 and 6 take the same pathways through the body and as a result compete with one another. Therefore, the body may not have enough of some compounds and too much of others. Generally, we eat diets that are rich in omega-6, which means it usually wins the fight against omega-3; therefore, omega-3 should be your focus.
Try to eat a diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids twice a week (8 ounces/week). Or when supplementing with fish oil pills, grab the bottle labeled “Omega-3” and leave behind the one labeled “Omega-3, 6, and 9.” However, excessive intake (4 to 8 ounces/day) of omega-3 fatty acids may impair the function of the immune system or allow uncontrollable bleeding. FYI – 100 grams is 3 ½ ounces.
Take away message: fats are good, especially essential fatty acids, so eat fish twice a week or supplement with a fish oil pill that contains omega-3 only. What about multi-vitamins you ask? Well, stay tuned for next week.
Image courtesy of lesleychoa