Omega 3 and Omega 6 – Their Benefits When Pregnant (Part 2)

How well do you know your omegas? Have you ever thought to know the difference between omega 3 and omega 6? Are these the only omegas that are beneficial? Omega 9 does exist you know! It’s a MUFA rather than a PUFA.

Well, hopefully after reading this article you will be well informed.

What is the difference between omega 3 and omega 6?

Apart from the sources (already seen in the benefits of fats) and the position of the double bond (3rd position of carbon in omega 3 and in the 6th position in omega 6), they have almost the same benefits (as seen in part – 1). The main point of concern is when the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 is not met that is when a problem arises.

As discussed a ratio of between 4:1 to 2:1 (omega 6: omega 3) is what is recommended, but most of us fail to reach this! And due to this your baby made be prone to obesity and other ailments.

What does all this mean?

Well, speak to your doctor and see that your the diet comprises of a good proportion of omega 3 (in conjunction with omega 6). As most common foods (like peanut butter) have more omega 6 than omega 3.

The rule of thumb is that the more you incorporate omega 3, the better! And during pregnancy, the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids is 650 mg/day, out of which 300mg/day is DHA.

What are good sources of Omega 3 & 6?

Well, eat foods that are a rich source of omega 3 when compared to omega 6. Unfortunately, the most common sources are seafood (fish, shellfish, lobster, oyster, etc). This is a blessing for non-vegetarians, but what about vegetarians?

Well, vegetarians have a variety of seeds (flaxseed, chia seeds), nuts (walnuts), oils, seaweed/algae as options.

Do we eat enough omega?

The thing about most of us Indians is that we don’t pay attention to the type of fat we eat. Some are a step ahead and choose healthy PUFA’s over saturated fats. But still, as a group, we are not fat aware. We eat food made of mixed oils or saturated fats and most of the deep-fried food or sweets, mainly outside are made of trans-fat (margarine or vanaspati)!  The percentage of saturated fats should give <10% calories as per your requirement and trans-fat should be avoided at all cost! (by 2023, WHO plans to eradicate artificial trans fats from the global food supply).

Even if we do consume good fat, the percentage of omega 3 & 6 is not known to us. Even if we do take oils/food rich in omega’s we don’t emphasize on what it is; omega 3, 6 or 9.

So speak to your doctor &/0r dietitian and find out if you’re getting enough of omega 3 (DHA & EPA) in your diet!

 

In a nutshell, we would suggest you speak to a professional and your pregmates and take better care of your nutrition! All this will go a long way.

mm

Aishwarya

Dr. Aishwarya Rajeev has completed her MDS degree and is currently pursuing her PhD. She is an avid reader and loves to teach and write!

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