Omega-3, omega-6, omega-9.
We all know the benefits of getting these essential fatty acids from our favorite animal- or plant-based sources. But have you heard there's a new omega in town? Meet omega-7.
Omega-7 fatty acids are monounsaturated fats found in cold-water fish, macadamia nuts, and sea buckthorn oil. Omega-7s are also known as palmitoleic acid, which is not an essential fatty acid.
This means our bodies can produce it from other nutrients we consume. While we don't need nearly as many omega-7s as we do omega-3s, there are still numerous benefits of incorporating them into your diet.
Palmitoleic acid can play a significant role in regulating metabolism, acting like a hormone in the body. Studies show that individuals with high levels of palmitoleic acid in their blood have better cholesterol levels and are more sensitive to insulin.
One of the world's most potent sources of omega-7 fatty acids is sea buckthorn oil. Sea buckthorn berries and their oil have been used for centuries in the coastal regions of Europe and Asia. They are mentioned frequently in ancient Tibetan healing texts; they were used by ancient Greeks to strengthen the manes of horses and were used in early Ayurvedic herbal remedies.
Sea buckthorn oil is processed in two forms, fruit oil and seed oil; both are extracted from yellow-orange berries, slightly smaller than a blueberry. The seed oil is pressed from the seeds while the fruit oil is derived from the pulp of the berry.
The nutrient profile of these ancient berries is quite impressive. Sea buckthorn berries are a notable source of nutrients, phytonutrients, carotene, flavonoids, vitamin C, as well as the powerful antioxidant enzyme super oxide dismutase, which blocks free radical damage.
The benefits of sea buckthorn oil and a diet rich in omega-7 fatty acids are diverse. While there's a need for additional long-term research on internal applications of sea buckthorn oil, the topical applications of omega-7s are well-founded.
Sea buckthorn oil helps balance out the skin's own sebum production, heal acne scars and age spots, assists in wound healing, and eliminates skin rashes. It slows down the aging process, helps increase cellular vitality, and benefits overall skin health.
Sea buckthorn products can be found at your local health food store or various health websites. There are sea buckthorn oil supplements and berry juice for internal use, and sea buckthorn facial oils, soaps, night creams, eye creams, and lotions for external applications.
I encourage you to give this new fatty acid a try, and let your omega-7-rich beauty shine from the inside out!
(Originally published on MindBodyGreen)