Health Benefits Of Omega-3 And Omega-6 Fatty Acids That Will Surprise You

Two important types of fat, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in combination called Vitamin F.

Interestingly, each one has a number of health benefits for your body.

The two healthy fats were discovered by scientists in the 1920s, when a study revealed that rats deficient in healthy fat were unhealthy and suffering adverse consequences.

Initially, they assumed it was a new vitamin, but later when they realized its properties, they named it vitamin F. 

It was alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA), belonging to the families of the two essential fatty acids, since they cannot be produced by the body and have to be derived through the diet. Vitamin F is essential  for the body’s growth and development. 

Linoleic acid or omega-6 is the building blocks of the tissue layers in the cells, by aiding the transport of water within the cells.

Another function of omega-6 fatty acid is its protection of cells on the skin that help retain moisture. The healthy fat is also said to bring down inflammation leading to autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. 

For this reason, European Food Safety Authority recommends that 4 percent of the daily diet should consist of linoleic acid.

In the U.S., the experts suggest that people should maintain a ratio of 4:1 on a daily basis, for LA to ALA. 

So how does one consume linoleic acid?

By consuming soybean oil, olive oil, corn oil, sunflower seeds, pecans and almonds. Where do you get omega-3 from ? The food sources of alpha-linolenic acid are flaxseed oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts. 

Health Benefits of ALA 

Omega-3 fatty acid is made up primarily of ALA, which is converted to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

ALA has been positively linked to reducing inflammation in the brain, in the joints, in the digestive tract and even lungs. Its most important benefit is that it aids growth and development, especially for fetal growth in pregnant women.

Omega-3 fatty acid consumption has been shown to reduce symptoms of poor mental health, especially depression and anxiety. However more research is needed. 

Health Benefits of LA

Omega-6 fatty acid is composed of LA for the most part, which is then further converted into other healthy unsaturated fats. It reduces risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and improves blood sugar control. 

 High levels of omega-3s are found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna. 

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