It is no secret that a low-fat diet has gained popularity in today’s society. The problem is, that a low-fat diet is not healthy and can cause several health problems. Learning how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy fats is crucial to a well-balanced diet. Additionally, getting enough healthy fats can help to prevent chronic disease, specifically cardiovascular disease- the leading cause of death in the United States. Today we breakdown the different types of fat including omega-3.
What is healthy vs. unhealthy fat?
It is critical for patients and medical professionals to distinguish between the different types of dietary fat. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are essential macronutrients in a well-balanced diet. MUFAs have one double bond, and PUFAs have two double bonds. These two fats are considered healthy fats.
Alternatively, the two fats that should be limited and avoided are trans fat and saturated fat. The recommendation is to avoid the consumption of trans fat in the diet overall, and the American Heart Association recommends that saturated fat be limited to less than 10% of total calorie intake and less than 7% of total calorie intake to reduce cardiovascular disease risk further. Both MUFAs and PUFAs are liquid at room temperature, whereas saturated fat is solid at room temperature. Butter is an example of saturated fat (solid at room temp)—and olive oil is an example of a MUFA (liquid at room temp).
What is omega-3?
One specific type of PUFA is an omega-3 fatty acid. The term omega-3 has to do with where the double bond is. Omega-3s must be consumed in the diet because the body cannot make omega-3 on its own. Therefore, omega-3s are considered essential fatty acids. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is the type of PUFA in plant sources like nuts and seeds. CF(Protein)® uses chia seed oil that is rich in ALA. The other types of omega-3 are EPA and DHA. These come from marine sources, like fish.
Omega-3 consumption is essential to a healthy diet and poses many benefits to health. It helps prevent/lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and also benefits your brain, immune system, skin, and joints.
What is the link between cardiovascular disease and omega-3?
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids may help protect you from developing cardiovascular diseases and events. Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids—including DHA, EPA, and ALA—is a promising primary and secondary way to prevent CVD. The main benefit of omega-3s is their ability to lower triglycerides. Additionally, omega-3s may help increase your HDL cholesterol (known as the “good cholesterol”). Higher levels of HDL may help prevent your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Hypertriglyceridemia is an independent risk factor for CVD events. According to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 35% of men and 25% of women in the US have hypertriglyceridemia defined as triglycerides>150 mg per day. Those with mixed dyslipidemia (high cholesterol and high triglycerides) may be on statin medication to lower their cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, statins do not lower triglycerides. Therefore, even if your patients are on a statin, they may still be at risk for cardiovascular events due to hypertriglyceridemia. Controlling triglycerides levels is crucial in this scenario to protect patients from CVD. Currently, available options to lower blood triglycerides are fibrates, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Sometimes, niacin and fibrates are not tolerated well and have adverse effects. Omega-3 fatty acids, however, have been shown to lower triglyceride levels with good tolerance.
Are omega 3’s anti-inflammatory?
Yes! Another benefit of omega-3 is its anti-inflammatory effect. Omega-3 deficiency is linked to prolonged inflammatory response, and several Americans do not get enough omega-3 in their diet. When there is an infection or damage to the body, inflammation is the body’s natural response. Inflammation is simply a protective response involving host cells, blood vessels, and proteins. The goal of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, remove necrotic cells and tissues, and initiate repair. Although acute inflammation is a protective response, if inflammation becomes chronic, it can be harmful. Chronic inflammation underlies chronic diseases. Therefore, it is essential to consume food that has anti-inflammatory functions. Since omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, they may help reduce chronic inflammation.
Lastly, omega-3 may also reduce your risk for depression and Alzheimer’s. Some research suggests that omega-3 may help reduce your risk for certain cancers; however, there is not enough evidence to support this yet. To summarize, the chia seed oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and may help reduce inflammation and prevent chronic diseases. CF(Protein)® is a good source of omega-3.
So what are you waiting for? Start adding omega-3‘s into your diet today. Buy CF(Protein)® for a convenient and on the go dose of omega-3.