Fats and oils (2)
More on health benefits of omega 3 fatty acid
Omega 3 fatty acid (and omega 6) generates and store energy in the body. Compared to glucose, 1 gram of fats generates 9kcal of energy, while 1 gram of glucose gives rise to 4kcal. These long chain fatty acids also keep the skin and hair healthy and make the hair fuller. They also help to keep the body warm.
Omega 3 working with omega 6 in a balanced ratio has been found to affect such inflammatory conditions as asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s disease. They alter the fatty acid composition of the cell membrane and reduce the inflammatory response in so doing.
Omega 6 fatty acid
Omega 6 fatty acid and omega 3 together make up the polyunsaturated fatty acids that play one role or the other in the body. They are usually referred to as essential fatty acids. They are essential because they are not synthesized in the human body even though they support human health. These fatty acids must therefore be gotten from dietary sources.
A balanced ratio between omega 6 and 3 is crucial for the wellbeing of every individual. This balance has been found to be naturally so in most diets that contains these two fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acid in the main is anti-inflammatory, while some types of omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory.
Studies have shown that omega 6 to omega 3 in a ratio ranging from 2:1 to 4:1 will positively support the general health of the human population.
Types of omega 6 fatty acid
Most important omega 6 fatty acid is linoleic acid. Linoleic acid can be converted to Gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Gamma linolenic acid can further be broken down to arachidonic acid. Other frequently encountered omega 6 fatty acids include eicosadienoic acid and docosadienoic acid.
Sources of omega 6 fatty acid
Omega 6 fatty acids are predominantly found in plants especially their oils, nuts and seeds. Examples are: sunflower seed oil, rapeseed oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, hemp oil, borage oil, flaxseed oil and soybean oil. Others are avocado pear, walnuts, cashew nuts, coconuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, whole grain wheat and spirulina.
Health benefits of omega 6 fatty acid
Omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids together prevent heart disease as I have already discussed under omega 3.
The following diseases can be prevented and treated with omega.
Hypertension: Specifically, Gamma linolenic acid, an omega 6 fatty acid, working in tandem with Eicosapentaenoic acid and Docosahexaenoic acid have been found to reduce the blood pressure.
Multiple sclerosis: Evening primrose oil has a high concentration of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is a type of omega 6 fatty acid. It has been found to be effective in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Premenstrual syndrome: GLA has been found to improve symptoms in some women. These symptoms are irritability, swelling, bloating and depression.
Menopausal symptoms: Evening primrose oil (EPO) has also been found to be useful in eliminating symptoms of menopause.
Examples are hot flushes and night sweats.
Rheumatoid arthritis: Studies suggest that EPO may be useful in reducing pain that may be associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Swelling and morning stiffness are other symptoms that may be affected by EPO.
Osteoporosis: Studies have shown that the levels of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the body determine the rate of bone loss. These fatty acids, in addition to lowering the rate of bone loss in elderly women also help to increase bone density.
Breast cancer: Breast cancer is one of the three types of cancer that available evidence has shown some response with the consumption of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. For breast cancer in particular, it has been shown that tumour activity in cancer cells is inhibited with the use of gamma linolenic acid.
The Genesis 1, 29 Diet and omega 3 and 6
From the discussion so far, it is very clear that the Genesis 1, 29 Diet, which is based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains with their oils and fish oils is a better diet than the animal-based diet of the Americas. The more the meat, the more the omega 6 fatty acid that in some cases support inflammation. Omega 3, being anti-inflammatory is best suited for the prevention of coronary heart disease.