Omega-9 is a type of monounsaturated fatty acid that is commonly found in a variety of different plant-based oils, such as olive oil, canola oil, and even sunflower oil. Now, unlike omega-3 and omega-6, omega-9 is not considered an essential fatty acid that needs to be consumed via omega-9 supplements. This is due to the body being able to produce its fatty acids from various suitable sources. That being said, whilst omega-3 and omega-6 might both be considered the most important fats to consume that does not mean that you cannot still consume higher, but healthy, levels of omega-9 as part of a balanced diet. After all, omega-9 can still provide various health benefits; some of which we will be discussing in today’s blog post. More specifically, in today’s blog, we will be taking a closer look at several benefits believed to be linked to the regular consumption of additional omega-9. We will be taking a deeper look into whether or not omega-9 can help support brain function, skin health or even hair growth. So, let's dive in and learn more about the many benefits of omega-9!
Is omega-9 good or bad?
If you are looking to add omega-9 oils as part of a healthy and balanced diet then the right amount of omega-9 could be very good for your body. Although, omega-9 is not considered an essential nutrient that we need to consume more of daily as it is a type of monounsaturated fatty acid that, as you may know, is found in favourise plant oils already. These types of oils are highly likely to already be a part of your daily diet; perhaps without you realising it in some cases. So, if you are already consuming foods with respectable levels of natural omega-9, then consuming additional supplements or more omega-9-rich oils would not be considered essential. If the body is already consuming suitable foods high in omega-9 then the body will be taking the nutrients and fatty acids from those foods that it needs. Consuming monounsaturated fats, high in omega-9, can have positive effects on heart health and cholesterol levels as opposed to consuming saturated fats which can increase ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. However, it all comes down to balance as too much omega-9 can have its downsides. It can lead to weight gain and other health problems as it’s also calorie-dense. Therefore to summarise, omega-9 can be good if it's regulated and not over-consumed; if you are having too much then it can be just as bad as any saturated fat!
Does the body need omega-9?
We now know that omega-9 is not an essential fatty acid, meaning that the body can produce it on its own, therefore consuming foods that contain omega-9 (as part of a balanced diet) is all you need to be consuming. Additional omega-9 supplements may be beneficial if you're intending to take them for further health benefits although not always necessary. The body needs omega-9 fatty acids as they plan an important role in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels as well as reducing inflammation and supporting heart health. Furthermore, there have been further studies conducted on the effectiveness of diets that are rich in natural mega-9 against lowering the risk of certain chronic diseases. So while the body might not require omega-9 in the same way that it needs essential fatty acids, having it as part of a balanced diet can be a good decision for your health and body. The body can use other nutrients and sources to get similar fatty acids from ‘traditional’ omega-9 sources, that (in a nutshell) is why it’s not deemed essential but instead a viable extra you could include so long as consumption is balanced!
Is omega-9 good for the brain?
Omega-9 fatty acids have been linked to improving not just cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation and heart health but also are believed to also have a positive effect on brain health as well. Regular and healthy consumption (balanced) has been said to help reduce inflammation which can be directly linked to cognitive decline as well as Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, there have also been some studies that suggest a diet rich in monounsaturated fats (like omega-9) may also be able to improve memory on the cognitive side but also our overall brain function. That being said, there is an extensive amount of research still required to fully understand the correlation and relationship between omega-9 and the full extent of its ability to improve overall brain health.
Is omega-9 good for your skin?
Just like the believed benefits that omega-9 can have on our brain health, cholesterol and heart health; it’s also said to be good for our skin. But how can oil be good for our skin? Well, once again omega-9 fatty acids are not a source of saturated fat but in fact, monounsaturated that are known for their health benefits which include the positive effects on the skin. Omega-9 can help to maintain healthy skin by providing it with essential nutrients that are responsible for keeping the skin nourished as well as protected against pollution and UV rays. Omega-9 fatty acids can help to strengthen the skin's natural barrier, preventing moisture loss and protecting the skin from environmental stressors such as pollution and UV rays. Although, that being said when it does come to skin care protection against UV rays; regular use of sunscreen is also highly advised; omega-9 cannot do all the work for your skin. It’s said to only be able to help build a defence and improve nourishment after all!
Is omega-9 good for hair growth?
Finally, we’ve now made it to today's last question in our blog and once again we want to answer another one of the most commonly asked questions surrounding what omega-9 is good for and whether it can help with hair growth. In short, yes omega-9 fatty acids have again been linked to their positive effects on hair growth; it’s said that they can nourish the hair follicles and scalp as well as promote healthy hair growth. Omega-9 is also believed to be able to reduce breakage, prevent split ends and improve the overall appearance of your hair. Therefore, incorporating foods that are rich in omega-9, or using hair products that contain omega-9 oils can help promote healthy hair growth!
To conclude today’s blog, as you now know omega-9 is good for various aspects of our health, including our skin and hair. This monounsaturated fat can provide essential nutrients, protect against environmental stressors, and reduce inflammation. Consuming omega-9-rich foods is much easier than you think but so can overconsuming it so you’ll just want to make sure you are keeping an eye on how much you consume to avoid overconsuming omega-9!