While most people are well aware of the importance of omega 3 fatty acids in maintaining good health; omega 6 is an unknown zone for many. To begin with, it is vital to comprehend that both omega 3 and omega 6 fall under the head of polyunsaturated fats. Although the body requires both these fatty acids in moderation for healthy survival, both have to be obtained from external sources as the human body is incapable of synthesizing these fats.
Despite the similarity in their names, omega 3 and omega 6 vary drastically with respect to their chemical constitution, sources from where they can be obtained and their respective functions in the body.
The sources of omega 6 far outnumber those of omega 3. While the former is commonly found in foods consumed by the present generation such as nuts, seeds, cookies, snack foods, crackers, sweets and various forms of fast foods; the best source of the latter is cold water fish. Omega 3 fatty acids come in three forms, out of which eicopentaenoic acid (EPA) and docohexaenoic acid (DHA) are most vital for the body. These types of omega 3 fatty acids aid in the synthesis of hormones that play an essential role in reduction of swelling, coagulation of blood; and have a positive influence on the general immunity of the body and the heart. In contrast to this, omega 6 assists the formation of hormones that increase inflammation, propagation of cells and clotting of blood.
For these very reasons, omega 3 is rated as a far superior fatty acid in comparison to omega 6. Nevertheless, a balanced intake of both these fats is recommended for good health. An imbalanced consumption of these fatty acids are observed to increase incidence of medical conditions like asthma, cancer, coronary heart diseases, neuro degenerative and autoimmune diseases, obesity, depression dyslexia, and ADHD.
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