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Get Your Omegas!

By Emily Lindholm

Surely, we've all heard the term, "get your omegas!"  Then you go to the store and see the options, omega-3, omega-6, and omega 9.  Which omegas do you choose?  Well, choose all three!  But be aware that there is a certain amount of each that our bodies need. 

All About the Omegas

There happens to be a major difference in these three types of omega fatty acids.  Yet, there are some things they each have in common.  They are all unsaturated fats.  Unsaturated refers to them having double bonds.  Omega-3 and omega-6  are polyunsaturated fatty acids, poly meaning "many."  Omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated fatty acids, mono meaning "one."  

The chemistry is complicated to explain.  We could get more into that, but the most important things to remember are what each type does for you and how to get more of these in your diet.  

Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are a crucial part of human cell membranes.  You can get them from fish, especially oily fish.  Vegetarians can try sacha inchi, a type of nut from South America.  These can be found in certain health food stores or purchased online.  The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Improved heart health
  • Mental health support
  • Weight management
  • Decreasing liver fat
  • Infant brain development
  • Decrease in inflammation

Omega- 6

These fatty acids are crucial for the human body in terms of energy production and immune function.  It's important not to get too many of these, otherwise they can cause inflammation.  A healthy ratio between omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids would be 1:1 or 4:1.  Americans tend to eat way more than this, leading to chronic inflammation.  This goes to show that you can't have too much of a good thing.  

The best sources of omega-6 include 100 grams per serving of:

  • Evening primrose oil
  • Borage oil
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds

Omega-9

As a monounsaturated fatty acid, our bodies can produce this on their own.  Therefore, these are considered non-essential.  Yet, the term non-essential should not be coined as "unimportant."  Omega-9s can help to lower inflammation and offer insulin support.  Omega-9s are found in these foods:

  • Olive oil
  • Almond oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews

How Much to Take

It is important to get a good balance of these fats.  Many find it difficult to keep track of, but the most important of these would be omega-3s.  Our bodies cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids. When in doubt, take a 3:6:9 supplement.  

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tulsa, Okla.  

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