Omega 3 is the only fat that keeps you healthy

Omega 3 is the only fat that keeps you healthy
As we grow older, it starts to tell on us. Especially on those living and working in competitive jobs in metros. This happens not just because of normal ageing, but also because of the bad habits that we pick up thanks to stress and work pressure. I am reminded of these immortal lines by WH Davies:

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

Eating junk food, working late every day, not getting enough sunlight, no time to relax and have a good time, popping pills at the slightest hint of any illness so as not to waste work time… all of this leads to the start of many diseases, most of them lifestyle related.

A trip to the doctor typically leads to not only prescriptions of pills, but also a paradigm change in diet and lifestyle. People are asked to avoid fats, eat whole grains, eat more fruits and vegetables, minimise or avoid meat and dairy products, exercise and start yoga if possible. Doctors in India are now finally starting to prescribe Omega 3 as well.

Some fats are bad, and all fats must be eaten in moderation, but there is one fat which is really good for us. This is a form of polyunsaturated fatty acid called Omega 3 and Omega 6. Fatty acids serve as energy for the muscles, heart, and other organs as building blocks for cell membranes and as energy storage for the body. Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that the human body needs for metabolic functioning but cannot produce, and, therefore, have to be acquired externally by the body.

There are two types of essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and Omega 6. Both of these fatty acids are not produced by the body and have to be acquired externally. While Omega 6 is relatively easier for a person to consume, (it is found in corn, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oil), people tend to have a deficiency of Omega 3.

Studies around the world have proved that taking Omega 3 is important for not only those who are ill, but also healthy people.

These studies show that Omega 3 fatty acids improve health in a myriad of ways: help promote a healthy heart, reduce cholesterol, support the immune system, help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, lower triglycerides levels and raise HDL (high density lipids) levels among many other benefits including reducing cancer risk.

The best sources of Omega 3 for vegetarians and vegans are flax seeds, sea weed, walnuts, hemp seeds and chia seeds, to name a few. Just ensure that you get an adequate amount of Omega 3 and less of Omega 6 every day and your health will be great.

Coconut Flax Seeds Crackers

Ingredients: 1 cup whole wheat flour, ¼ cup cold pressed coconut oil, ½ cup evaporated cane sugar, ¼ cup flax seeds, ½ tsp baking powder, pinch of salt

Method: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix in the oil and make a homogenous mix. Now, line a baking tray with parchment paper and place dollops of the mixture one inch apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool and store in an airtight container.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)

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