By now, you’ve probably heard plenty of recommendations that omega fatty acids are better for your body than trans fats and saturated fats. However, there are actually several types of omega fatty acids, and they affect the body in very different ways.
Here’s an overview of the main types of omega fatty acids for nutrition and which ones are healthiest to consume in your diet.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
One type of polyunsaturated fat that the human body cannot make on its own is omega-3 fatty acid. These are essential fats because the body requires them through nutrition. According to the World Health Organization, it is advisable to consume oily fish rich in omega-3s at least twice per week. This is because omega 3s have promising benefits for many aspects of health, including the brain, heart, moods, eyes, inflammation, and much more.
In terms of classification, omega-3 fatty acids can be broken down even further. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a common type of omega-3 that is found in many plant-based foods, such as walnuts, and flaxseed. It is often stored as energy in the body but is not as efficient as other types of omega-3s. Eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA) is found in fish, such as salmon, shrimp, and herring. EPA has shown in studies to reduce inflammation and have many other beneficial health effects. A third type of omega-3 is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is also found in seafood, especially fatty fish. DHA has been linked to improved health of the skin, eyes, brain, heart, and joints.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Aside from the very beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, there are also omega-6 fatty acids that the body needs in moderation. Omega-6 fatty acids cannot be produced internally by the body, so they must also be consumed through diet. They are used for energy and may also benefit the immune system. Omega 6s have also been studied for their potential benefits to the brain, metabolism, and reproductive system. But unlike omega-3s, many Western diets contain too many omega-6s and some people could benefit to cut back on them. Some healthy omega-6 foods to eat include grapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts.
Omega-9 Fatty Acids
The last omega fatty acid we’ll cover here in detail is the omega-9 fatty acid. Omega-9s can be produced naturally by the body, which means that they aren’t “essential” fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s. However, they are still an important part of a balanced diet. Omega 9s have been linked to reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, more energy, and better moods. Also, your metabolic health can benefit by consuming omega-9s rather than saturated fats. Good sources of omega-9s include avocados, olives, and extra virgin olive oil.
Other Tips About Omega Fatty Acids
With regard to supplementation, you can find nutritional supplements that contain omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids. However, most American diets already contain enough omega-6s and omega-9s, or maybe even too much. Yet since the body cannot naturally produce omega-3s and the health benefits of omega-3s are so great, many people can benefit from taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements. This is especially true if you do not eat fatty fish at least twice per week. Seagate offers Omega-3 + Shark Liver Oil and many other supplements that are sustainably produced, affordably priced, and 100% pure. Our Shark Liver Oil contains more than three times the omega-3 fatty acid concentration of some competing brands and is available in 100 and 200 capsule quantities for a two- to three-month supply of natural health benefits.