Omega Fatty Acids & Why You Need Them
January 19, 2023
Our bodies are truly astounding. They are the vessel through which we navigate our daily lives and provide us with the ability to…well, live! In turn, we nourish and feed our bodies with food. While many foods are delicious, not all foods are created equal. You’ve probably heard from your parents and doctors from a young age to “take your vitamins” and “eat your vegetables.” That’s because what you eat matters; and what you give your body will impact what you get from it.
You’ve probably heard of macronutrients (maybe you’ve even done a diet that focuses on “counting macros”). Macronutrients are the nutrients we need in larger quantities that provide us with energy. There are three types of macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. For comparison, vitamins and minerals are micronutrients; and while equally important, are consumed in much smaller amounts than macronutrients.
Today we’ll be discussing one macronutrient in particular, fats. When it comes to health and weight loss, fats have had somewhat of a roller coaster ride in where and how they should fit into the modern diet. While there are many differing trains of thought on “how much”, “what kind”, and “from where” when it comes to fats, nutritionists and medical professionals agree that fats should be a part of a regular, healthy diet for most of us. Rather than avoiding all fats altogether then, the key is to strike a balance between fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
The human body is capable of making most of the fats that it needs from other fats and raw materials. There is one kind of fat, however, that the body is not able to make on its own - omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are essential fats, meaning the body is not able to make them from scratch, but must instead rely on getting them from the foods you eat.
Here are some of the most common questions we receive about omega-3s from our customers and weight loss center clients:
Why are omega-3’s such an important part of my diet? Well, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in other conditions. These fats in particular help to protect and fuel the body.
What foods can I eat that contain omega-3’s? The following foods are known to contain high amounts of omega-3s:
- Fish - mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, caviar
- Other marine sources - cod liver oil, oysters
- Flaxseed and flaxseed oils
- Chia seeds
- Other sources in smaller amounts include - pastured eggs, omega-3 enriched eggs, meats and dairy products from grass-fed animals, hemp seeds, and even leafy greens such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, and purslane
I’m on a diet, have food allergies, or don’t like eating a lot of those foods that contain omega-3s. What can I do? While eating foods that are rich in omega-3s are the best way to get enough, we understand that these foods may not be accessible or preferable to every individual. Fatty fish are your best means of meeting the body’s nutritional needs for omega-3 fatty acids. If you don’t eat a lot of fatty fish (at least 2 servings a week), then you may want to consider taking an omega-3 supplement.
Are there other omega fatty acids that I should intake? Yes, there are two other types of omega fatty acids that are popular: omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are like Omega-3 fatty acids in that they are essential and cannot be synthesized by the human body. Omega-9 fatty acids, on the other hand, can be produced by the body. Sources of omega-6 fatty acids include oils such as sunflower, corn, safflower, grapeseed, cottonseed, walnut, sesame and soybean oil and in nuts like almonds and cashews. Omega-9 fatty acids are commonly found in vegetable and seed oils (such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, cashew nut oil, peanut oil, avocado oil) and nuts (such as walnuts). You can also take supplements to obtain both of these essential fatty acids.
Why do some fish oil supplements leave a fishy aftertaste/fish burp? If you're getting a fishy aftertaste or fish burp after taking a fish oil supplement, then your supplement is dissolving in your stomach rather than in the small intestine. You can eliminate fishy aftertaste by opting for supplements that are enteric coated. The enteric coating allows the capsule travel further down the digestive tract so it can dissolve in the small intestine instead of the stomach. MRC's Enteric Coated Essential Fatty Acid supplement is an omega-3 and 6 supplement made from high quality marine oils that won't leave that unpleasant fishy aftertaste. Get yours here!
The bottom line: essential fatty acids are, as the name implies, essential to a healthy functioning body. According to the NIH National Library of Medicine, “many studies have positively correlated essential fatty acids with reduction of cardovascular morbidity and mortality, infant development, cancer prevention, optimal brain and vision functioning, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and neurological/neuropsychiatric disorders.” What you eat matters greatly when it comes to supporting the body that supports you. If you want to eat healthier but aren’t sure where to start, MRC can help! Shop our selection of Omega oil supplements and comprehensive Weight Loss Kits and get started on your healthier lifestyle!