Essential Fatty acids in Indian Vegetarian foods
There are three essential fatty acids (EFA) that are needed for maintenance of every cell, tissue and organ
Omega 3 fatty acids can lower total Cholesterol, lower bad Cholesterol (LDL), lower Triglycerides, raise or maintain good Cholesterol (HDL), develop help fetal brain and vision, maintain brain and vision for the elderly.
Omega 3 Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)
It can be converted by human body to EPA and EPA into DHA.
Flaxseed (The best source for LNA)
Walnuts (The best nut)
Avocado (The best fruit)
Dark green leafy vegetables (Spinach, Kale, Mustard greens, Collard)
Canola Oil (Best source for omega 3 for cooking)
The best source for DHA are fish such as Salmon, Mackerel, sardines, anchovies, albacore Tuna, and Northern ocean algae.
Do not try to grow Flaxseed in your back yard at home. Unripe flax seeds contain natural cyanide.
Omega 6 Linoleic acid (LA)
It can be converted in to GLA, DGLA, and AA. GLA is synthesized with EPA (Omega 3) to form needed Eicosanoids.
Black Currant seeds
Cooking oils: Corn, Safflower, soybean, olive oil, cotton seeds
GLA is found in Borage seeds, Black Currant seeds
AA is found in Meats, Eggs, and Dairy products
Omega 9 Oleic Acid
Omega 9 is of little concern. This is a monounsaturated fat, can be synthesized by human body from EFA with ease.
Olives and olive oil
Factors that inhibit conversion
1. Saturated fats: Ghee, butter
2. Transfats: Vanaspati, Margarines
3. Lack of minerals (magnesium, selenium, zinc)
4. Lack of Vitamins (B3, B6, Beta-carotene, C, and E)
Indian Vegetarian Diet
The major problem is the most valued Omega 3 acid known as DHA. DHA is needed for the most important tissues Brain, Vision (Retina), adrenal, testes, lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
The major food source for DHA is fish and marine algae. On the coastal regions of India, fish is readily consumed except for orthodox Hindus. People who do not eat fish, the diet has to depend on conversion from ALA to EPA, and from EPA to DHA. The best sources are Flaxseeds, Walnuts, and Canola oil. In addition, there has to be a concerted effort to avoid saturated fats, transfats, and sugars.
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