Your body needs different types of fats, including omega-9 fatty acids. Here is what you need to know about omega-9, its health benefits and how to include it in your diet.
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Omega-9 is a fatty acid stored in your body fat. Your body usually has little omega-3, a substantial amount of omega-6, and numerous omega-9 fatty acids.
Omega-9 fatty acids are from a family of unsaturated fats that are commonly found in vegetables and animal fats. They are also known as oleic acid or monounsaturated fats. Other sources include canola oil, safflower oil, olive oil, mustard oil, and nut oils, among others.
Unlike omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, omega-9 fatty acids are not classified as essential fatty acids despite their many benefits. Here is what you need to know about omega-9 and why you need it.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Unlike omega-3 and omega-6, omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated, meaning that they only contain one double bond. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, which your body can't make. The term "polyunsaturated" usually refers to chemical structure and essentially means that omega-3 has several double bonds.
Omega-3 refers to the position of the final double bond, which has three carbon atoms from the "omega", or the tail end of the molecular chain. For Omega-6, the last double bond is six carbon atoms from the "omega" end of the molecule. Because your body can't make omega-3 and omega-6 fats, they are classified as "essential fats", meaning that you can only derive them from your diet.
Omega-9 has nine carbons located on the omega end of the fatty acid molecule. Oleic acid is usually the most common type of omega-9 fatty acid as well as the most common monounsaturated fatty acid in a typical diet. Omega-9 is not strictly classified under essential acids because your body can produce them. However, eating foods rich in omega-9 comes with added benefits for your body.
Here are some of the benefits of Omega-9 that you should know.
Research shows that omega-9 fatty acids may help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Omega-9 increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in the body and decreases LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol for the body). Reduction of LDL cholesterol is important for fighting plaque build-up in the arteries, which causes heart attacks and strokes.
According to a study carried out by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, an increase in the amount of omega-9 fatty acids in the body has been associated with increased energy, a decrease in anger, as well as enhancement of mood. The study also concluded that the use of oleic acid results in increased energy levels, helping you perform physical activities. Stock up on foods rich in omega-9 for a boost of energy.
Research shows that omega-9 fatty acids may help those suffering from mental cognitive issues. Erucic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in fats such as mustard oil, has been shown to support people with metabolic issues that may affect other parts of their body including their brain. Regular or increased intake of omega-9 fatty acids can help reduce adverse effects.
Some of the best sources of Omega-9 fatty acids include the following:
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