Good fats or healthy fatty acids, which are these? Omega 3 & 6. Cold water fish contains the most Omega-3 fatty acids. Experts say that eating fish twice a week contributes to a healthy heart. But nuts also contain many Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 & 6 are considered healthy fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as linolenic acid and healthy fatty acids) are unsaturated fatty acids. Fish and seafood contain a lot of linolenic acid, which is made up of two different healthy fatty acids called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
There are also Omega-6 fatty acids. These are, just like Omega-3, also unsaturated fatty acids. Omega-6 is commonly found in vegetable oils, such as corn oil and rapeseed oil. Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 are considered important components in the daily diet because the body cannot produce them itself. They fall under the heading of healthy fatty acids.
Healthy fatty acids: Omega-3 versus Omega-6
Most people know that both fatty acids are very important for the body. However, what is a good balance between the two? In general, most people eat too many Omega-6 fatty acids and too few Omega-3 fatty acids. A poor balance in both makes the body more sensitive to inflammation, which can lead to chronic complaints.
The average diet shows a 15:1 ratio of Omega-6 versus Omega-3. No one knows exactly what the right ratio should be between the two fatty acids, but many experts think that it should be a maximum of 4:1. This means that there should be no more than four times Omega-6 than Omega-3 in the diet.
Healthy fatty acids: The benefits of Omega-3
The Omega-3 fatty acids reduce, among other things, the risk of inflammation in the body. They are also important for developing the brain and the body’s cognitive functions. They are also said to contribute to healthier eyes. In addition, they protect heart function by keeping the heart and blood vessels healthy, normalizing cholesterol and in some cases regulating the heart rhythm.
Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, are very important for the growth of the brain of an unborn child in the second half of a pregnancy, and in the first three months after birth. Babies obviously cannot eat food, but they ingest it through their mother’s breast milk.
Eating fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids keeps the heart healthy. The fatty acids contribute to normalizing cholesterol levels and lowering triglycerides. Both occur in the blood. Increased levels of either are related to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for a good heart rhythm. These fatty acids can contribute to the prevention of an irregular heartbeat. Eating (oily) fish twice a week greatly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Healthy fatty acids: Vegetarian Omega-3 sources
If fish or seafood does not fit into your diet, there are also vegetable sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are important sources of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). The body converts ALA into EPA and DHA. Under normal circumstances, the body can make enough EPA and DHA from ALA. If there is a greater demand for these fatty acids, for example during pregnancy, it is wise to also take a nutritional supplement, such as fish oil capsules.