Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids are all essential dietary fats.
They all have health advantages, but getting the right balance between them is important. An imbalance in your diet can lead to a variety of chronic diseases.
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3s are an essential fatty acid family that plays a significant role in your body and can provide a number of health benefits.
You must get them from your diet as your body can not produce them on its own.
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are the three most important types. ALA occurs mainly in plants, whereas DHA and EPA are found mainly in animal foods and algae.
Fatty fish, fish oils, flax seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts are common foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
An omega-3 supplement, such as fish oil or algal oil, is often recommended for people who do not eat many of these foods.
A crucial part of human cell membranes is omega-3 fats. They have other significant functions as well, including:
Decreases liver fat.
Improves heart health.
Reduces weight and waist size.
Supports infant brain development.
Supports mental health.
What are omega-6 fatty acids?
Also important are omega-6 fatty acids, so you need to get them from your diet.
They provide energy primarily. Linoleic acid, which the body can transform to longer omega-6 fats such as arachidonic acid (AA), is the most common omega-6 fat.
AA, like EPA, creates eicosanoids. The eicosanoids that AA generates, however, are more pro-inflammatory.
A key role in the immune system is played by pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. However, they can increase the risk of inflammation and inflammatory disease if the body produces too many.
A safe ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids tends to be between 1-to-1 and 4-to-1, but studies indicate that a ratio of between 15-to-1 and almost 17-to-1 could be eaten by people who adopt a traditional Western diet.
What are omega-9 fatty acids?
The fatty acids of omega-9 are monounsaturated, meaning they have only one double bond.
The nine carbons from the omega end of the fatty acid molecule are found.
The most common omega-9 fatty acid and the most prevalent monounsaturated fatty acid in the diet is oleic acid.
Fatty acids from Omega-9 are not strictly "essential," as they can be produced by the body.
However, there may be health advantages to eating foods high in omega-9 fatty acids instead of other forms of fat.
Which foods contain these fats?
Omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids can be easily obtained from your diet, but you need the right combination for each one. There are more omega-6 fats in the standard Western diet than required and not enough omega-3 fats.
Here's a list of foods that are rich in the fatty acids omega-3, -6, and -9.
Foods high in omega-3 fats
The best source of EPA and DHA omega-3s is oily fish. Algal oils are used in other marine sources. ALA comes primarily from nuts and seeds.
Here are the amounts and types of omega-3s in one serving of the following foods:
anchovies: 1.0 grams EPA and DHA
chia seeds: 4.9 grams ALA
flaxseeds: 2.3 grams ALA
mackerel: 3.0 grams EPA and DHA
salmon: 4.0 grams EPA and DHA
sardines: 2.2 grams EPA and DHA
walnuts: 2.5 grams ALA
Foods high in omega-6 fats
Nuts and seeds contain a large amount of omega-6 fatty acids.
Here are the amounts of omega-6s in 100 grams of the following foods:
almonds: 12 grams
cashew nuts: 8 grams
corn oil: 49 grams
soybean oil: 50 grams
sunflower seeds: 34 grams
walnuts: 37 grams
Foods high in omega-9 fats
Omega-9 fats are common in:
· seed oils
Since they are nonessential, there are no adequate intake guidelines for omega-9s.
Here are the amounts of omega-9s in 100 grams of the following foods:
almond oil: 70 grams
almonds: 30 grams
avocado oil: 60 grams
cashew nut oil: 73 grams
cashews: 24 grams
olive oil: 83 grams
peanut oil: 47 grams
walnuts: 9 grams
To Sum It Up
Combined omega-3-6-9 supplements are popular, but there is typically no extra benefit from taking omega-3 alone.
In certain amounts, omega-6s are essential, but they're found in many foods. People who adopt a Western diet could have eaten too many of them already.
In addition, the body can produce omega-9 fats, and in the diet, they are readily obtained. So, it's not appropriate for you to take them in supplement form.
Therefore, while combined supplements include ideal omega 3-6-9 ratios, it is likely that taking only omega-3s would have the most health benefits for you.