The healthiest oils are those that contain the essential fatty acids (ALO). The A.L.O. are polyunsaturated and are divided into 2 groups: Ω-3 and Ω-6, which despite their seemingly small molecular differences, act in very different ways.
Many scientists believe that the main cause of the rising incidence of cardiovas-cular disease, hypertension, diabetes, some cancers and premature aging, is the unbalanced intake between Ω-6 and Ω-3. Our ancestors had applied the fraction (Ω-6 / Ω-3) 1: 1 in their diet, while modern eating habits have brought the frac-tion close to 20: 1
The main sources of Ω-6 are vegetable fats, such as corn oil and soybean oil, which are high in linoleic acid. Ω-3 is found in linseed oil and peanut oil, but mainly in fish oils. The main constituents of the first two are α-linolenic acid, while the major constituents of fish oils are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
References in Scientific Research Proving the Beneficial Effects of Ω-3 Intake (from Fish Oils)
VISION & BRAIN FUNCTION
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the formation of cell membranes, especially those of nerve cells and retinal photoreceptor cells. Lack of DHA in the diet of experimental animals is said to result in loss of vision. The addition of DHA to premature infants is also believed to facilitate vision recovery.
The human brain is one of the largest consumers of DHA. The brain of a normal adult contains more than 20 grams of DHA. Lower levels have been linked to lower serotonin levels, which in turn are associated with an increased tendency to depression & violence.
PREGNANCY & BREASTFEEDING
Adequate intake of DHA and EPA is especially important during pregnancy and lactation, as the fetus cannot synthesize them on its own. There is evidence that inadequate maternal omega-3 intake increases the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.
Some researchers believe that preeclampsia (the occurrence of high blood pressure in pregnant women) is associated with a lack of DHA.
CANCER PREVENTION & REDUCTION OF INFLAMMATION PAIN
There is strong evidence that increased omega-3 intake, combined with de-creased omega-6 intake, reduces the chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Also, daily administration of 2.5 g of fish oil seems to be quite effective in preventing the transition from a mild polyp to colon cancer. Finally, Korean researchers report that patients with prostate cancer have very low levels of Ω-3 in the blood.
PREVENTION OF ASTHMA
A clinical study from the University of Sydney found that children who regularly ate fresh, fatty fish had 4 times less asthma than children who ate fish sparingly or occasionally. Researchers from the University of Wyoming have determined that daily administration of 3.3 g of fish oil significantly reduces respiratory problems and other symptoms in patients with asthma.
Finally, other studies suggest that omega-3s may be an important tool in the treatment of various lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and emphysema.
CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES AND HYPLIPIDEMIA
The scientific community got the first clues to the beneficial effects of omega-3s in 1970, when Danish physicists noticed that Eskimos had dramatically low rates of cardiovascular disease, despite the fact that their diet was very high in fat. The continuation of this observation showed that in fact, their diet was ex-tremely rich in EPA and DHA.
Recent research has shown that omega-3s have a strong protective effect against atherosclerosis, heart attack, arrhythmias, stroke, vascular lesions, angi-na, heart failure and coronary heart disease. There is a huge body of scientific literature that unequivocally links omega-3s to these diseases and proves that omega-3s increase the elasticity and strength of arterial walls, prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure and stabilize the heart.Written by: