The best kept beauty secrets are not hidden in the safes of the big cosmetic companies; they are just in the open in your kitchen. When it comes to head-to-toe healthy skin, it’s scientifically proven that the foods you put IN your body are more important than the products you put ON it.
How do Omega-3s hydrate your skin?
No doubts, we’ve all heard of the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. But what is less well known is the role these essential fatty acids play on hair and skin.
Omega-3 fatty acids are among the must-have foods for healthy skin because they are responsible for the health of the cell membrane, which is not only a barrier to harmful things, but also the passageway for nutrients to cross in and waste products to get out. Thanks to membranes, the skin cells are able to hold water and maintain healthy metabolism resulting in softer, more subtle, and more wrinkle-free skin.
As you age, your body’s natural ability to retain moisture within cells diminishes, resulting in loose and wrinkled skin. Omega-3 fatty acids act as natural moisturizers that revitalize dry skin from the inside out.
Interesting fact: Inuit Eskimos, who tend to have a high fat diet and eat significant amounts of fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, have lower risk of cardiovascular system problems and even reduced rates of colorectal cancer. Inuit consume a diet of foods that are fished, hunted, and gathered locally. The Inuit believe that their diet has many benefits over the western Qallunaat food. They are adamant about proving that their diet will make one stronger, warmer, and full of energy. Inuit women have luxurious strong hair. And not only that: even elderly people almost don’t have wrinkles.
What actually Omega-3 fatty acids are?
In biochemistry, fatty acids that have carbon–carbon double bonds (C=C) are known as unsaturated. Fatty acids without double bonds (C-C) are known as saturated. The way in which a fatty acid is named is determined by the location of the first double (C=C) bond. Omega-3 fatty acids have this double bond at the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain.
Omega-3and Omega-6 fatty acids play a vital role in many metabolic processes. They are called “essential fatty acids” because they are necessary for good health, but cannot be synthesized in the body and can only be obtained by humans through their diets.
There are three omega-3 fatty acids that are involved in human physiology:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – comes from plant sources – plant seeds, nuts (notably walnuts), and many common vegetable oils. Seed oils are the richest sources of α-linolenic acid, notably those of chia, perilla, flaxseed (linseed oil), rapeseed (canola), and soybeans.
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – comes from animal sources – marine animals such as fish and krill.
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – also comes from animal sources
Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
Most of the health benefits of omega-3 fats are linked to the animal-based EPA and DHA, not the plant-based ALA, which means that even if you consume large amounts of ALA from plant sources, your body can only convert a relatively small amount into EPA and DHA.
Most Omega-6 fatty acids in the diet come from vegetable oils, such as linoleic acid (not to be confused with ALA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid). Linoleic acid can be converted to ALA in the body at low rate.
Our modern diets are very unbalanced in essential Omega-3 fatty acid: the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in Western diets is about 10 to 1, compared with ratios of 4 to 1 in Japan. No wonder that Japanese women are famous for their porcelain skin.
The foods highest in omega-3 fatty acids include cold water fatty fish (such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, anchovies, and black cod) and seafood as well as walnuts, canola oil, and flax seed. Because high heat destroys essential fatty acids, it is better to get your portion from sources such as raw nuts and uncooked oils.
Just to summarize: Omega 3 fatty acids are vital to help skin cells retain water and flush out toxins and a diet rich in them can help to minimize the appearance of aging, cellulite and acne. Consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids leads to smoother, hydrated and younger-looking skin.