HYDERABAD: IF you are a woman consuming only one type of oil, there might be an imbalance in the ratio of Polyunsaturated fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 which can lead to health complications, say experts. An imbalance in Omega-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids increases risk of pre-term delivery and can lead to impaired brain function and physical growth of a child.
Director of National Institute of Nutrition, Dr R Hemalatha urged people not to stick to one particular type of oil, but instead use multiple types of oils on rotation basis. Generally in India, people stick to only one form of oil throughout their life. The effects of this is not limited only to woman and children, but men too.
Fatty acids are divided into two types: 1) Saturated fatty acids and 2) Unsaturated fatty acids-which includes Polyunsaturated fatty acids and Monounsaturated fatty acids. Further, the Polyunsaturated fats are categorised into Omega-3 (N3), Omega-6 (N6), and others. “To balance Omega 3 and Omega 6, there should be rotation of oils. If you [women] take or get less Omega-3 fatty acids in diet, the risk of pre-term birth increases. Omega-3 fatty acids is important right before and during pregnancy,” Hemalatha said addressing a press conference on the sidelines on the symposium ‘Fats in Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition-Indian Context’.
Michael A Crawford, visiting professor at Department of Surgery and Cancer, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said that they conducted a study where fatty acids levels in red blood cell membranes collected from pregnant women were analysed. “Results say that fatty acids status in red blood cell membrane predicts pre-term birth. Fatty acids are needed for growth of brain. Pre-term delivery and low birth weight are strongest risk factors for development disorders of brain,” Prof Crawford said.