Omega oils are polyunsaturated essential fatty acids which have been determined through numerous studies to have health benefits. Omega oils, also called omega fatty acids, are among the family of essential fatty acids which the body needs to survive, but cannot produce on its own. As a result, these oils must be derived from food sources, and it has been shown that a diet high in omega oils results in healthier, longer lives. There are numerous dietary options for people seeking to increase their intake of omega oils.
Omega oils can lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of heart disease, increase the health of skin and nails, and have anti-inflammatory benefits. Some omega oils such as Omega-3 are also high in fiber and other nutrients to increase physical health. Another type of omega oil, Omega-6, is found in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that comes from plants.
Not only is getting enough omega oils important but the proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is important in terms of disease prevention. People typically have much too high a ratio. Medical professionals believe that ratio should be reduced to a four portions of Omega-6 to every portion of Omega-3; and a one to one ratio would be even better.
For plant sources of omega oils, flax seeds, canola, and walnuts are both high in Omega-3, as are soy and winter squash. These vegetable sources can be eaten straight or converted into dietary supplements such as flax seed oil. Omega oils can also be derived from spinach, blue-green algae, corn, wheat germ, and pumpkin. Although vegetarians may have heard otherwise, omega oils can readily be derived from plant sources and there is no need to take supplements such as fish oil.
Many types of fish are also high in omega oils, as well as many other vital nutrients for health. Approximately two servings of fatty fish per week will provide a healthy level of these essential fatty acids. Consumers should be aware that some species of fish have a high mercury content, and excessive consumption of fish such as shark, swordfish, and albacore should be limited.
Fish which are high in omega oils include salmon, halibut, snapper, scallops, and shrimp. These fish are readily available in most grocery stores in fresh, frozen, dried, and canned varieties. When eaten with a balanced plate of vegetables, fish can make a delicious and tasty dinner. For fish to be healthy, it should be steamed, baked, or broiled, rather than fried. Try serving fish with flax seed oil for an extra dose of flavor and omega oils.