Fish Oils and Other Essential Fatty Acids
When it comes to your eyes, what you put in your mouth may impact your vision. While it sounds "fishy" your daily consumption of fish oils can impact your vision in a beneficial way!
Most people living in the West consume far too many Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids. Omega 9 fatty acids commonly come from olive oil, peanuts, avocado and similar food products. While important, omega 9 fatty acids are not considered "essential" fatty acids because your body has the ability to manufacture them naturally.
Omega 6 fatty acids are sometimes referred to as gamma linolenic acid or GLA. This type of fatty acid is important for helping the body produce prostaglandins. Omega-6 fatty acids also help promote our immune function and maintain our energy levels. It is important however that omega-6 consumption is balanced out by adequate levels of essential fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids because our body cannot produce them naturally. They help promote our cardiovascular health, reduce our inflammatory response in the body, help maintain our energy levels, promote healthy cholesterol levels and help maintain our eyesight.
Unlike omega-6 fatty acids, many people don't eat enough of the foods containing omega 3 fatty acids to benefit from them. Omega-6 fatty acids are plentiful in products like cereals, whole grains, poultry and egg products and in most vegetable oils, which are found in most diets.
How Can I Get More Omega 3 Fatty Acids In My Diet?
Omega 3 essential fatty acids however, usually come in the form of flax seed oil or fatty oils derived from certain fishes including salmon.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids are otherwise known as alpha linolenic acid or LNA. It is in short supply. Studies suggest that while levels of omega 6 fatty acids have almost doubled in recent decades, the levels of omega 3 consumed have declined significantly.
Too much omega 6 consumption can increase the amount of fluid our bodies retain and actually increase our risk of high blood pressure and blood clotting. For this reason it is vital we improve our intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
Flax or linseed oil
Fish oils including salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout
If you don't consume enough of these foods daily, you should consider taking a supplement containing fish or flax seed oils. With time this can help prevent unwanted illnesses and even help protect you from age related macular degeneration
and other vision loss problems associated with inadequate nutrition.
Most doctors recommend a ratio of 3:1 when it comes to omega 6 to 3 balance. That means for every 3 parts omega 6 fatty acids you consume you should be getting 1 part omega 3. Most people tend to get consume omega 6 fatty acids in a ratio of 20:1 compared with omega 3's, which is definitely not healthy.
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Here is just a short list of benefits you'll receive by consuming more fish oils in your diet:
Less hunger resulting from better regulated blood sugar levels.
Improved cardiovascular function.
Better heart regulation; studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oils for example may improve your metabolic rate.
Reduced risk of age related vision problems including macular degeneration.