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Omega Fatty Acids

Omega fatty acids are discussed a lot in today's world, also referred to as essential fatty acids. Fatty acids are the building blocks that all fats are composed of. The fatty acids necessary for health that the body cannot make are called essential fatty acids (EFA's) and have to be obtained from the foods we eat.

Essential fatty acids have many significant benefits, including improving skin and hair, reducing blood pressure, helping to prevent arthritic conditions, reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels, aid in the transmission of nerve impulses and brain function. Every cell in the body needs these essential fatty acids for rebuilding and producing new cells. Fatty acids are made up of Eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which can be converted into EPA and DHA.

There are three fatty acids needed for health. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are not produced by the body and must be obtained from foods we eat, where omega-9's are made by the body.

Below is more information on each one:

Omega-3 fats come from fish, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, fish oil, flaxseed oil, flax, chia, hemp seeds, seaweeds, edamame, and walnuts. These help protect the heart from lapsing into erratic rhythms, ease inflammation, inhibit the formation of dangerous clots in the bloodstream, and lower triglycerides which are the most common type of fat-carrying particle in the blood.

Omega-6 fats are found in safflower, sunflower, corn, borage, grapeseed, primrose, sesame, and soybean oils, along with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and walnuts, and cashews. They lower harmful LDL cholesterol, boost protective HDL and help keep blood sugar in check, improving sensitivity to insulin.

Omega-9 fats are found in fish, animal fats, olive, cashew, almond, avocado, peanut oils, and in almonds, cashews, and walnuts. They increase HDL (good) cholesterol and decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol helping to eliminate plaque buildup on the arteries.

You can obtain the recommended daily amount (RDA) of omegas from a balanced diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish 2-3 times per week. Vegetarians and vegans can obtain their needs from certain foods and oils, or many choose supplements. It is also important to note that essential fatty acids should not be cooked or heated, destroying their viability and creating dangerous free radicals.

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