Everyone will have heard of omega-3 fatty acids and their benefits; however most people are unaware of omega-6 and omega-9, when they are in fact essential for our health. Therefore, we must eat the right foods for our bodies to gain these fatty acids that provide many benefits to our health.
Omega-6 fatty acids are similar to omega-3 fatty acids as they are known as polyunsaturated fats and cannot be manufactured by the body. Omega-6 contains Linoleic Acid (LA) that is found in nut and plant-based oils like corn, peanut, soybean and sunflower oils. It also contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) that is obtained from red meat, poultry and eggs, as well as Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) that is found within infrequently consumed vegetable oils like evening primrose oil and other oils that are mostly delivered in nutritional supplements.
It is suggested that omega-6 alongside other fatty acids do play a specific role in overall health and acts as good fats that can contribute to preventing coronary heart disease, strokes and diabetes, while promoting healthy nerve activity, immunity and cell development and improving vitamin absorption. Omega-6 fatty acids in particular have been known to contribute to aiding blood clotting and helping you to battle infection.
Unlike omega-3 and omega-6, not only can we gain omega-9 fatty acids from certain foods, but the body can actually manufacture omega-9 fatty acids itself. These particular fatty acids are from the family of unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats that are most commonly found in vegetable oils. Omega-9’s primary fatty acid is Oleic Acid (OA) that is commonly found in canola, olive and sunflower oils. This acid is also naturally found in certain fruits like avocado and olives and in nuts such as cashews, macadamias, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts.
Anything that is high in these monounsaturated fats will help to reduce the key factors that contribute to heart disease and diabetes. Research has also shown that these fatty acids are protective against factors that lead to metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. This is due to omega-9 fatty acids’ abilities to increase good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol, meaning they can help to eliminate plaque build-up in the arteries that would lead to heart attacks or strokes.