by Zareen Afridi | 27 NOV 2017
A new study published by the George Institute for Global Health states that diet rich in Omega 6 polyunsaturated fat is helpful in reducing the risk of type 2 Diabetes. The research was published in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, and highlights the health benefits of Omega 6 fatty acid.
Lead author Dr. Jason Wu of the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney said that simple changes can be made in diet to protect from developing type 2 diabetes which is growing as the biggest health concern worldwide. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to process blood sugar or glucose on its own. Pancreas produce a hormone called insulin which balances the sugar of the body but when pancreas produce insufficient amount of insulin, diabetes occurs. Continued diabetes can cause cardiovascular diseases, kidney and eye problems, causes wound to heal slowly and may also hinder pregnancy.
Omega 6 is a type of polyunsaturated fat, helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol. It is an essential fat that the body can't produce on its own hence needs to be outsourced externally. It is vital for the brain as it promotes healthy growth and development of body. Omega 3 is also beneficial for skin and hair growth, maintains bone strength, regulates the metabolism and also keeps the reproductive system safe and sound.
The benefits of Omega 6 are listed below :
Reduces nerve pain: Studies show that Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) which is a type of Omega 6 fatty acid is helpful in alleviating nerves pain if taken for a period of 6 months or more.
Fights inflammation: Healthy fats are found in Omega 3 fatty acid. GLA is metabolized as DLGA in the body which is an anti-inflammatory nutrient.
Beneficial in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Primrose oil contains 7 - 10% GLA. This oil is extracted from primrose flower that reduces pain, joint stiffness and swelling. It is helpful in stopping the progression of Arthritis and may not completely alleviate the disease.
Lowers high blood pressure: Black currant oil contains GLA which is helpful in lowering high blood pressure in patients. GLA when combined with Omega 3 fish oil may also reduce symptoms of high blood pressure.
Lowers risk of heart diseases: American Heart Association states that linoleic acid is helpful in decreasing chances of developing coronary heart diseases. Replacing saturated fats with vegetable oils which are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids may greatly prevent heart diseases.
“In the research those who had the highest levels of blood Omega 6 had lower chances of developing type 2 diabetes. This is a striking evidence,” said senior author and Prof. Dariush Mozaffarian of the Friedmans School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Massachusetts.
Some studies have also raised concerns on the negative effects of Omega 6, such as inflammation. Yet the global collaboration led by the George Institute finds that those with high levels of linoleic acid were 35% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with least amount of linoleic acid.
Data was analysed from 20 studies, participated by 39740 adults from 10 countries. Out of these, 4347 new cases of diabetes occurred over time. The age of volunteers varied and did not have diabetes at the start of the research. They were tested for linoleic acid, arachidonic acid and diabetes in consideration. Linoleic acid was helpful in lowering risk of diabetes while arachidonic acid had none effects. US dietary guidelines suggest 5-10% of energy should be derived from polyunsaturated fats.
Some countries recommend even lower intakes, said Dr. Wu. Highest Omega 6 foods are :
Poppy seed oil
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