There are different types of lipids in our diet that are of particular interest. We are talking about polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are divided into two categories, one called linoleic acid and the other alpha-linolenic acid. These fatty acids are very important as the body cannot produce them by itself and therefore we must necessarily introduce them with our daily diet. For this reason these fatty acids are also called "essential". After taking them through food, these nutrients are converted into other substances thanks to the use of some enzymes in our body. Specifically, linoleic acid is one of the main fatty acids of the omega6 class while from alpha-linoleic acid it belongs to the class of fatty acids called omega-3. The term "omega-6" or "omega-3" refers to the position of the first double bond with respect to the terminal or methyl part of this molecule, in fact it is no coincidence that the term "omega" is used which in the Greek alphabet indicates precisely the last letter. Therefore, speaking of omega-6 fatty acids, the first double bond between the sixth and seventh carbon atom is identified, counting from the methyl or terminal group. As for the omega3, it is enough to count from the terminal portion of the molecule and position yourself between the third and fourth carbon atom..
Where can we find these essential nutrients?
Fortunately, there are several foods that contain good percentages of omega3 and omega6. For example, among the omega6s there are legumes, dried fruit and some seed oils. As for the omega3s, on the other hand, we have fish, especially those from the northern seas, flax seeds and oil. Unfortunately, our body is not always fully able to synthesize the nutrients deriving from omega3 and omega6, this happens mainly with advancing age, where the body's functions tend to decline on all fronts. It must also be considered that omega3 and omega6 using the same metabolic resources tend to be competitors and therefore it is a good idea to balance the ratio between omega6 and omega3 at 6: 1, a ratio that is unbalanced at 10: 1. in Western countries like ours. It is therefore necessary to have a balanced diet that tends to bring this ratio back to the values mentioned above. For example, you could vary your diet by introducing a greater intake of possibly blue fish or fish from the northern seas..
But if they are so important, what are they for specifically?
As you may have guessed, these nutrients play an essential role in our body and therefore a fundamental role is to be expected such as the prevention as well as the treatment of coronary heart diseases, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and inflammatory and / or immune disorders / disorders. Furthermore, a low intake of these substances can cause dry skin, dry hair, asthenia and a deficit of the immune system.
What are the functions of omega-6s and omega-3s?
Omega-6 fatty acids allow to reduce blood cholesterol by reducing the level of LDL or "bad" cholesterol. however it must be said that this benefit is partially reduced by the fact that the same action is also carried out against the good HDL cholesterol. Instead, omega-3 fatty acids act on triglyceride values by reducing levels and interfering with the hepatic incorporation process into VLDL lipoproteins.L). For this reason, omega 3 fatty acids have a significant antithrombotic action and therefore reduce cardiovascular pathology and complications.
In detail, Omega 3s ensure that fats do not accumulate in the blood and therefore in the arterial walls, blocking the flow of blood and hardening the blood vessels. In this way the blood that has been made more fluid circulates freely, reducing the strain of the heart which would inevitably lead to atherosclerosis, thrombosis, hypertension and coronary-type diseases. In addition, an aspect not to be underestimated, omega3s reduce inflammatory reactions, rheumatoid arthritis, damage skin cells even in the case of psoriasis and other skin diseases, promote the well-being and functionality of the immune system and the central nervous system. and most importantly they are anticarcinogenic. This explains how it is possible that on a daily basis in the media, newspapers and thematic channels it is always emphasized by specialists and doctors in the sector how important it is to take foods containing omega3 and omega6 such as fish, flax seeds, nuts, etc.
In this regard, we report the list of some foods that contain these elements: