Are You Really Getting Enough Omega-3s?

Do you pay attention to the amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats you eat each day? What about the ratio in which you eat them? Learn more about Omega fats!

Marketers want us to buy their products and supplements. Essential fatty acids, as their name suggests, are essential, making them marketing gold.

Goods are promoted with terms such as “high in polyunsaturated fats, low in saturates” or “contains omega-3!” with happy, smiley people on the packaging.

The truth is, unless their product is oily fish, you’re probably not getting enough omega-3.

Worse still, if it’s high in polyunsaturated fats, you might be undoing omega-3’s substantial health benefits.

What are Essential Fatty Acids?

Certain fats are essential for our bodies to function optimally. While the body can produce some, others must come from your diet. For this reason, they are classed as essential.1

When considering our fat intake, we will often hear the terms saturated and unsaturated. Essential fatty acids (EFA) are unsaturated fats, found in the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) group.

These EFAs can be broken down into two types:

Linoleic Fatty Acids (also known as Omega-6)

Linoleic acid is well-known for its ability to lower LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad one).2  It’s found in foods such as leafy vegetables, grains, seed and oils such as sunflower, corn, safflower and poppy seed.

These products tend to be promoted as high in polyunsaturated, low in saturated fats.

Alpha-Linolenic Acid (better known as Omega-3)

Products advertised as being high in omega-3 are often high in Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Technically, the marketers are not lying to you – their product does indeed contain omega-3. However, the body must convert ALA into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are the forms which show the biggest health benefits in studies. Foods such as seeds, nuts, flaxseed oil, and tofu are high in ALA.

Unfortunately, the process for converting ALA is slow. Our best option is to consume foods which naturally contain higher levels of EPA and DHA. Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, anchovies and swordfish, are the best sources.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *