Omega 3: what is it again?

Every year, omega 3s are the focus of much research and nutritional recommendations concerning them are often updated. Non-synthesizable by most mammals, including humans, omega 3 is essential and must therefore be provided through food.

Omega 3, fatty acids that do us good

Omega 3 are fatty acids that our body cannot produce itself, but which are necessary for its proper functioning. They must therefore be provided through food.

“Our omega 3 needs for a healthy adult are 2 to 3g per day, which corresponds in practice to a 100g steak of salmon, or 4 to 5 teaspoons of rapeseed oil,” explains Déborah Ohana, dietitian nutritionist.

The benefits of omega 3

Omega 3 has many benefits for our body. They are necessary for the development and functioning of the retina, the nervous system and even the brain. They help regulate blood pressure, promote the elasticity of vessels, and the aggregation of blood platelets. Omega 3 would also help maintain good mental health. The Japanese, for example, who consume it in large quantities, are much less affected by cardiovascular diseases.

Where to find omega 3 ?

Omega 3 is found in abundance in Mediterranean and Japanese diets, rich in marine animals and green plants. “The richest sources are fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, etc.), and rapeseed, walnut and flax oils,” adds Déborah.

At lower doses, animals that feed on land plants such as beef, for example, are also a source of omega 3. In France, it would even be the main source of consumption of this fatty acid, due to the very meat-rich diet of most French people*.

To read: Anti-inflammatory diet: instructions for use

Balancing the different types of omega

In addition to omega 3, there are two other forms of fatty acids in our diet, omega 6 and 9. Unlike the first two, omega 9 is not seen as essential to our functioning, and it is present in most fats that we consume every day such as olive oil or hazelnuts. Therefore, an omega 9 deficiency is almost impossible! Omega 6, for their part, is present in corn, sunflower and soybean oil.

To benefit from their benefits for all, it is necessary to balance intake between the three types of omega. Indeed, an excess of omega 6 can even harm the action of omega 3 within our body. The nutritionist adds: “if there is an imbalance in favor of omega 6, omega 3 cannot play its protective role and the risk of cardiovascular disease increases. We should ideally consume 4 times more omega 6 than omega 3, which is much lower than our current consumption, which is around 30 times more. »

Thanks to Déborah Ohana, dietitian nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition, micro-nutrition and eating disorders.

Deborah Ohana

* Source

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