Whether you’re a carnivore, omnivore or a religious herbivore, fat is a crucial element of a healthy diet. The flavour and consistency of many foods including oils, nuts, vegetables and fish results from the fats found in these food groups. Yet on a much deeper, molecular level, fats are critical to several essential functions within the human body.
The Fatty Acid Chains
The fats found in the foods we eat are made up of fatty acid chains. These chains consist of carbon and hydrogen atoms that are linked together by either one or two bonds. These are two main groups of fatty acids that we consume: saturated and unsaturated fats. Today, we’re focusing on unsaturated fats.
All unsaturated fatty acid chains have at least one double bond link between carbon atoms. Similar to the movement of your elbow, this linkage allows the chain to bend and limits the number of hydrogen atoms that can bind to the carbon atoms within that chain. Due to this limitation, the molecule (two or more atoms) cannot be saturated by hydrogen atoms, thus it is referred to as unsaturated.
Unsaturated fatty acids that only contain one double bond are known as monosaturated fatty acids) or MUFA’s. Unsaturated fatty acids that contain more than one double bond are known as polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA’s. Within the unsaturated fats are where the Omega’s are found. Both Omega 3 and Omega 6 are PUFA’s, whereas Omega 9’s are usually MUFA’s.
Why, Where and How ?
Omega’s 3 & 6 are both important elements of cell membranes and are the building blocks for many other substances in the body including those that assist in blood pressure regulation, cardiovascular health and inflammatory responses. Omega 3’s can be found in both plant and animal sources. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a plant source of Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid and is found in Hemp Seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, canola and soy bean oil. The human body is incapable of making ALA so it can only be obtained through diet.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the animal sources of Omega 3 and are commonly found in cold-water fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies, sardines, mackerel and herring. Both EPA and DHA can be produced from ALA in the liver, however the conversion rate is limited, less than 15%, therefore consuming marine forms of Omega 3’s is highly recommended.
Unlike Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, Omega 9’s are commonly mono-saturated fatty acids and can be made within the body, deeming them a non-essential fatty acid. However this does not mean that they should be disregarded from consumption as some of the foods that are high in Omega 9’s are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. Hemp oil is particularly high in Omega 3, 6 and 9’s and contains the optimal 1:3 ratio of Omega 3 and 6 for humans.
Why 1:3 ?
The 1:3 ration of Omega 3 to Omega 6 has been found to reduce inflammation in the joints (particularly those with rhuematoid arthritis) increase the body’s ability to metabolise fat thus reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes and improve cardiovascular health and function.
Hemp Seed Oil’s such as Hemp Oz Hemp Seed Oil, have been found to contain more than 80% polyunsaturated fatty acids, including all three omegas. The cold-pressed, extra virgin extraction method keeps most of the nutritional value of the seed intact. Hemp seed oil provides one of nature’s most balanced sources of omega fatty acids to support everyday health and vitality.