Omega 3

Published On: 13 August 2013Categories: Omega 3Tags: , , , , , , ,

omega3fish omega3spoon

If you are trying to lose weight or eat healthy, then you might think that cutting all fat out of your diet would be beneficial. However, fat is an essential part of our diet and some fats can have health consumption benefits. Below is a guideline to various fats that form part of our diet and food consumption:

Saturated Fats:

Saturated fats in the diet are the unhealthy ones which are found in butter, margarine, cheese, meat fat and processed foods. These fats in the diet are linked to heart disease as they increase total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). This type of fat should be minimised as much as possible in the diet.

Monounsaturated Fats:

Monounsaturated fats are linked to health benefits as they can help reduce total and LDL cholesterol and maintain levels of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Good sources of monounsaturated fats are avocados, olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil.

Polyunsaturated Fats:

Polyunsaturated fats are found in most vegetable oils and in oily fish. These fats can also reduce LDL cholesterol but slightly reduce the HDL type, so it is best to limit the polyunsaturated fats and eat more monounsaturated.

A subcategory of the polyunsaturated fats are the essential fatty acids. They are essential as they have to be consumed in the diet as the body cannot make them itself. These involve two series, one called omega-3 and the other omega-6. The main omega-3 fatty acids are called EPA and DHA; the main omega-6 acids are called DPA and GLA. In the body, these substances have many important uses and functions. Some benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are to increase energy levels and stamina, improve aerobic metabolism, increase exercise duration and intensity, reduce inflammation, improve release of growth hormone, improve delivery of oxygen and  nutrients to the body cells.

It is recommended to eat foods that provide both omega-3 and omega-6 in a ratio of about 1:5 or even lower (at least 1 gram of omega-3 for every 5 grams of omega-6). Most people tend to eat much more omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3. Increasing omega-3 in the diet can be achieved by eating a minimum of 2 portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily fish. Good sources of omega-3 include rainbow trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon and blue fin tuna. Omega-3 can also be supplemented in the diet but it is much more beneficial and recommended to get the nutrients from food rather than supplements.

Please feel free to contact the G4 Manchester (Didsbury) Clinic to speak to a member of our diet & nutrition team for any questions that you may have or if you wish to arrange a consultation to discuss your diet, nutrition and lifestyle.

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