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Alpha Linoleic Acid Can be the Best Antioxidant and a Cancer Fighter
- There is a good side and bad side to many things. This is also true for the fats we consume. The good fats we welcome are omega-3 fatty acids, also known as alpha linolenic acid. Omega-6 fatty acids are also good fats which should be included in our daily diets
- Antioxidants such as omega-3s and omega-6s play a role in preventing heart disease and some types of cancer
- It is not difficult to replace your common bad fats with some good fats. Fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds are all considered decent replacements
- Flax seed, an omega-3 antioxidant, is believed to be an even better cancer fighter than soy
An important antioxidant, an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is found in several vegetable oils and few fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and more. Linoleic acid foods, a linoleic acid structure composing omega-6 fatty acids, consists of a larger variety of nuts and seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, and more. Alpha linolenic acid has had many claims of being heart healthy. As antioxidants, alpha linolenic acid and linoleic acid foods, are now being claimed to fight various cancers. Unlike certain fats which may promote cancer since they are saturated and boost hormones, alpha linolenic acids are considered to be good essential fats which will protect against cancer.
According to the chemical and physical structure of fatty acids, the linoleic acid structure and the alpha linolenic structure will determine the difference between an omega 3 fatty acid and an omega 6 fatty acid.
One of the greatest sources of omega-3 fats are lignans found in flax seeds. According to a 2002 study done at University of Toronto, lignans will reduce tumor growth rate and prevent metastasis by at least 45%. Flax seeds are a strong source of phytoestrogen, a cancer protecting nutrient. Flax seed is believed to be a stronger cancer fighter than that of soy products. Diets low in fat, but made up of good fats, have a tendency to decrease circulating testosterone and estrogen in the blood stream. Low fat diets will drop estrogen levels in the blood stream by fifteen to fifty percent within a few weeks. Since the hormones aid in promoting cancer, decreasing the circulation of them will reduce the risk of cancer. Not only are these fats believed to prevent some kinds of cancer, the omega 3 fatty acids are known to decrease risk of arrhythmias, lower triglyceride levels, slightly lower blood pressure, and decrease the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque which will block the arteries.
Because of the benefits and risks of good fats and bad fats, replacing the bad with the good should be considered. Adding monounsaturated fats to your diet would be a healthy choice. This would include adding olive oils, fish, nuts, fish oils, and flax. Sprinkling ground flax seeds on your morning cereal, or on your dinner salad will aid in reducing threatening hormones in the diet. This will also balance estrogen and testosterone levels as well. Omega 3s found in seeds, nuts, oils, and cold water fish should be included in your diet. People with low levels of omega 3 in the tissues and blood have been shown to correspond with some cancers including breast cancer.
Saturated and monounsaturated fats are not needed in our diets. These fats are made in the human body. However, linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acids are not self produced and can only be provided by diet. Recommended sources of these antioxidants are from soybeans, canola, walnuts, flaxseeds, and their oils. It is suggested that fish, especially fatty fish, should be eaten at least two times a week. Fatty types of fish include mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, salmon, and albacore tuna. If enough omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are not obtained by diet alone, linolenic acid supplements are also available for further protection against heart disease and various cancers.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Antioxidants4 Sep 2009|