When it comes to fats, there is one particular type that you can’t give up: Omega fatty acids.
Proper nutrition includes a balanced intake of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fibers, vitamins and minerals. Of all, fats have gained a controversial reputation. But it is important to be able to make a clear difference between “good fats” and “bad fats”, in order to make the right food choices.
Keep in mind a simple rule when planning your meals: opt for healthy fats as often as possible and bypass the unhealthy ones.
- The good fats are the unsaturated ones, which can be: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
- Bad fats come in two types: saturated and trans.
Fatty acids are included in the category of good fats, desirable in any diet. There are several types of fatty acids, equally important for the overall health: Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9.
And here are the best food sources for Omegas:
Omega 3 fatty acids
The body cannot produce these essential fatty acids from scratch, so it needs to get them from food sources, whether they are of vegetable or animal origin. There are 3 major types of Omega 3 essential fatty acids:
- EPA – eicosapentanoic acid, which helps reduce inflammation in the body and symptoms associated with depression and menopause.
- DHA – dacosahexanoic acid, essential for the development of the brain since childhood, but also its proper functioning in adulthood.
- ALA – alpha linolenic acid, which before being used by the body, it needs to be converted to EPA and DHA.
It is ideal to eat fatty fishes 2 times a week to ensure you have the optimum intake of these essential fatty acids. But fish is not the only source you have available. Put these foods rich in Omega 3 on your shopping list from now on:
- Fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, herring, seafood (shrimps, shells, lobster)
- Seeds: chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- Nuts: pistachios, almonds
- Vegetables: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, salad, spinach, cabbage, french turnip, broccoli
- Legumes: beans, peas
- Fruits: avocado, pineapple, bananas, mango, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, strawberries
Omega 6 fatty acids
Unlike Omega 3 essential fatty acids, our bodies can produce Omega 6 fatty acids, but not in sufficient quantity, which is why we listed below the food sources you can rely on:
- Meat: chicken, beef
- Seeds: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
- Nuts: pecans, hazelnuts, almonds
- Other: eggs, cheese, butter
Omega 7 fatty acids
Even if they are rarely spoken about, it does not mean that their role is not as important for your health. The cardiovascular system will be grateful to you for introducing these fatty acids into your diet. Here are the natural sources you can rely on:
- Fish: tuna, trout, salmon
- Meat: turkey, beef, chicken
- Other: eggs, butter, Cheddar cheese
- Fruit: Avocado
- Plants: dogwood
- Nuts: Macadamia nuts, almonds
Omega 9 fatty acids
Even if the human body can produce Omega-9 fatty acids alone, it doesn’t hurt to know what natural sources you can choose to supplement your body with these acids. Keep in mind, however, that the ratio of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids should be moderate, namely: 2:1:1 for Omega 3:6:9.
- Plants: sunflower
- Walnuts: forest nuts, Macadamia nuts, almond butter
- Oils: avocado oil, canola oil, olive oil, soybean oil
Now that you know which are the best food allies you can rely on, to provide the needed amount of all these types of Omega fatty acids, all you have to do is to update your shopping list.