What are Essential Fatty Acids?
Essential fatty acids are a sub category of polyunsaturated fats and cannot be made in the human body therefore they have to come from the food we eat. Essential Fatty Acids are grouped in to two series:
1) Omega 3 derived from alpha- linolenic acid (ALA)
2) Omega 6 derived from linoleic acid.
What is the difference between Omega-3 and Omega-6?
Omega-3 fatty acids provide numerous health benefits. These include:
– They help with cellular development and the formation of healthy cell membranes
– They assist in the development and function of the brain and nervous system
– Reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
– They also have muscle-building and fat-loss benefits.
Like omega-3 fats, omega-6 fats are essential in the human diet, and they provide numerous health benefits these include:
– Important for the healthy functioning of cell membranes
– Extremely important for maintaining healthy skin
– Can help reduce LDL cholesterol
– However aside from the benefits there’s a major difference between Omega-3 and 6.
Omega-6 fats are commonly found in vegetable oils, nuts, and grain-fed meats, they aren’t a fat most people are deficient in. This is problematic because, despite being essential, these fats can become unhealthy when the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 gets higher than 4:1.
Consistently eating a diet that is higher than this ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats may contribute to the development of heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis, as well as depression. Plus, it can prevent optimal muscle recovery and growth, as well as inhibiting fat loss.
Sadly, most diets put people well over this 4:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. When the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is closer to 1:1, the risk of these diseases is significantly decreased.
In the 1990s, there was a surge of attention focused on fish and fish oil as the highest-quality source of omega-3. It was not until flax seed and linseed oil became popular that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a very strong source of omega-3s, began to gain attention too. With the rediscovery of Chia as a new and better source, more studies on Chia and ALA can be expected.
How much Omega-3 is there in Chia Seed?
Chia seed contains a massive 3g of omega-3 per 15g serving. This is far superior than flax seed, hemp seed and sunflower seeds. Chia also has a ratio of 1:3, which means it has three times the amount of omega-3 than omega-6 in its structure. By adding Chia to your daily diet, you will balance out the ratio of fatty acid intake, leaving you with a healthier brain function and cardiovascular system, and increased oxygenation.Return to top of page