Not all fats are equal, and while some can be your enemies, others are important allies. When you are training hard to build a leaner, fitter body, Omega 3 fatty acids can be your biggest ally. This is especially true for those who are creating a calorie deficit to mobilize their fat reserves and are on a high protein – low carbohydrate diet. These fats are good for your body, so add them to your daily diet.
Every time you go on a diet and want to reduce your caloric intake, you will be advised to either cut down on fats or choose low-fat alternatives. All fats are made of the same 3 chemical compounds – Oxygen, Hydrogen and Carbon. Saturated fats have more hydrogen bonds, which make them denser and heavier. And unsaturated fats have lesser hydrogen atoms that make them light. The best fats for your body are Omega 3 fatty acids. These are also known as Alpha-linoleic.
Do You Need Fats When You Are Dieting?
Low levels of both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in the body will result in impaired vision, hair loss, learning problems, slower growth and reduced blood platelets. That is the reason these 2 kinds of fats are also known as Essential Fatty Acids. With a deficiency of Omega 3’s in your body, you can suffer from impaired brain function and most functions of the cell membrane will also be slowed down. What is more important to know is that many clinical trials done around the globe associate Omega 3 fatty acids with prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, improved immunity, reduced arthritis risks and even claim these EFAs can prevent psychiatric disorders.
Also, if you are exercising at the gym, your body needs Omega 3 fatty acids. Think of this healthy fat as an ally for your 6 pack abs. your body needs 20 fatty acids in order to maintain normal functioning. Out of these 20, all are synthesized by the body but 2 – Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. And these are the ones you really need to attain through foods and supplements. It has been noticed that most people eat more of Omega 6 fatty acids in comparison to the more powerful Omega 3 fatty acids.
Do You Need These Omega 3 Fatty Acids If You Workout?
Omega 3 fatty acids will:
- Improve insulin sensitivity within the muscles
- Accelerate metabolism
- Stimulate production of testosterone
- Have an anti-inflammatory effect to aid in muscle recovery and repair
- Improve immune system
- Direct endocrinal hormones to target the right cells
- Keep saturated fats mobilized in the bloodstream so they can be readily burned off to generate energy
- Transport a higher percentage of oxygen to cells which improves athletic performance
- Regulate nerve transmission effectively for better brain to muscle co-ordination
- Be the primary source of energy for the muscles of the heart to keep enough blood pumping through the system as you workout
Omega 3 fatty acids have also been labeled as ‘Anti-fat’. This is due to their property of improving metabolic functions in the body and because they mobilize fat reserves to be burnt off as fuel for the body. Also, Omega 3 fatty acids improve cell membrane fluidity so that nutrients can be absorbed faster. So think of Omega 3 fatty acids as muscle boosting, fat burning foods that cannot be missed out upon.
Ways To Add More Omega 3 Fatty Acids To Your Diet
Now that you know why Omega 3 fatty acids are so important for your workouts, you need to know more about the different natural sources of food that are rich in these EFAs.
A few good sources are:
- Oily fish
- Flaxseed oil
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Soybean oil
Some milk and cheese are also high in Omega 3 fatty acids. You need to get 20% to 25% of your daily calories from Omega 3 fatty acids in order to properly aid your workouts. Keep the ratio between Omega 6: Omega 3 fatty acids as 2:1 or 3:1. Women need 1.1g of linoleic acid every day while men need 1.6g for losing weight and boosting muscle buildup.
If you cannot meet your daily Omega 3 fatty acids dietary needs through food, invest in quality supplements.