February 22 2021
Basically, dietary fats are classified into two types- saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats have no double bonds in their structure, but, unsaturated fats have one or more double bonds in their structure. Many studies have shown that replacement of saturated fats with polyunsaturated fatty acids can decrease or even eliminate the risks of coronary heart disease and many other health issues too. Now, let’s have a look on what actually are polyunsaturated fatty acids.
These types of fats are considered healthy, and contain more than one double bond in the backbone of their structure. They have a carbon and hydrogen chain in each molecule.
A type of dietary fat, it is found in both animal and plant derived foods.
Types of polyunsaturated fatty acids:
There are various types of polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, out of them, most commonly found forms are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: the most commonly found polyunsaturated fatty acids, they are found to be quite essential for the functioning of the cells in the human body. Their primary function is to provide energy production and play a vital role in proper functioning of heart, lungs, blood vessels and the immune system.
There are three different types of omega-3 fats:
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Omega-6 fatty acids: omega-6 fatty acids can also enhance the quality of life by adding a lot of nutrients to the diet. However, many studies suggest that a diet rich in omega-6 fats and deficient in omega-3 fats can cause inflammation and other issues related to health of the individual. Some fast-foods and sweets also contain highly amounts of omega-6s. Sources of the same are: mayonnaise, tofu, soybean oil, sunflower oil etc.
Sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids:
Walnuts: a rich source of fiber, fats, minerals and vitamins, antioxidants, omega-3, they are one of the most nutritious snacking options. Walnuts provide 2.5 grams per 28 grams of serving. Omega-3 fatty acids which are derived from plants are called alpha-linolenic acid, which also includes walnuts.
Flax seeds: a great source of nutrition; they’re one of the oldest known crops. Alvizia’s flaxseed oil boosts up your daily nutrition intake with monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is one of the most effective sources of plant-based omega-3 fats, which can be a great supplement for overall health of the body.
Salmon/ fish oil: fish oil is the biggest and the most known source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated. Alvizia’s fish oil capsules can be a great supplement helping in better functioning of the heart, blood vessels, better hair and skin, etc.
Sunflower seeds: rich in antioxidants and many other nutrients, sunflower seeds can boost up your energy with a high dose of proteins. These seeds have large amounts of vitamin E in them, which protects your skin and hair from sun damage and also, nourishes it. Plant-based omega-6 fatty acids are found in great amounts in sunflower seeds, which can also be extracted into the oil form. Per 100 grams of sunflower seeds contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the ratio of 1:311.5.
Soybean oil: extracted from the seeds of soybean, it is one of the most popularly consumed vegetable oils. This oil comprises of mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids, which makes it good for heart health and a better option among many other refined oils. Studies show that trading saturated fatty acids with polyunsaturated fatty acids (like soybean oil), can be really good for heart health, skin, hair and the overall functioning of the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been considered as something which enhances the overall health of the human body, including skin, hair, and heart, blood vessels, and bone health etc. soybean oil helps in achieving a better and more nutritious diet when replaced with other refined oils, containing saturated fats.
Benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids
- Heart health: decreased risks of heart diseases and blood pressure are directly linked to the consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, instead of saturated fats. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown great effects against heart ailments in various studies. They act on the human body by lowering the levels of glycerides, which, when elevated, reduce risks of heart diseases.
- Development of infants: studies have shown that females, who consume fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation period, have healthier children when compared to women who are not regular with these fats. Also, a study has found out that children, who consume omega-3 fatty acids, do not have behavioral, fine motor, communication skill issues. So, polyunsaturated fatty acids play a vital role in mental and physical development of infants, and also children.
- Helpful in enhancing mental health: mental or psychological issues are often linked to the increase in an individual’s age. Omega-3 fats are of great significance when it comes to the development of human brain and it’s functioning. People with regular consumption of these fats are at a very low risk of dementia, which basically means losing one’s ability to think, and it highly depends on the age factor. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found to be highly effective against ailments and illnesses associated to brain due to ageing.
- Skin and hair: many sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have shown great effects when it comes to the nourishment and protection of the human skin and hair. This is because the omega-3s improve the skin barrier functions, and keeps out the irritants and other harmful substances. In a nutshell, these fats tend to protect the skin from sunburns, itchiness, and other skin-related issues.