You may have heard about omega 3’s and their benefits for years, but now a less known type of fat is finally getting its turn in the spotlight. Omega 7 fats are gaining attention for their potential to reduce risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other obesity-related diseases. But as is often the case with health hype, the information is not clear. Do omega 7s really have as many health benefits? And if so, which foods have these fats in plenty? In this article, we will discuss what omega 7s are and which omega 7 foods you need to consider if you’re looking to increase your consumption of these.
What Is Omega 7?
Omega 7 is an unsaturated fatty acid that has a range of health benefits. Unsaturated fats, with the exception of omega 3s and omega 6s, are also known as non-essential fatty acids. That’s because they aren’t needed in our diet for survival but can be beneficial to health when consumed by humans or animals. The body synthesizes non-essential fatty acids on its own.
Benefits Of Palmitoleic Acid
The human body can produce palmitoleic acid. This omega 7 fatty acid is found in your tissue and liver. But research has found that there may be benefits of ingesting dietary palmitoleic acid .
Here are the potential benefits of palmitoleic acid:
May Support Heart Health
Palmitoleic acids have been shown in studies to be associated with an improved ratio of LDL-cholesterol: HDL cholesterol, which is linked to a lower risk for cardiovascular disease.
(21). Palmitoleics also increased the amount of both omega-18s as well as oleic and linolenic acids in blood plasma. However, this remains controversial as other studies have had conflicting results.
Supports Insulin Sensitivity
Palmitoleic acid may prevent the breakdown of insulin and help it work more effectively (4). In addition, palmitoleic acid may support blood sugar control by preventing spikes in glucose levels and reducing inflammation that contributes to type II diabetes. It is also associated with an increase in the sensitivity of muscle cells that respond to insulin. Again, studies have found conflicting results in this area so it is far from completely understood.
Reduces Inflammation And Swelling
Palmitoleic acid may help reduce inflammation-causing molecules called cytokines. Palmitoleic acid has also been seen in mice to promote a molecule that reduces the production of cytokines. This helps stop chronic inflammation and swelling (14). Palmitoles produce an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin when applied topically to prevent dermatitis from occurring or worsening.
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Satiety is the feeling you get after eating a meal and not having any hunger pangs for a certain period of time. Palmitoleic acid may be able to help control appetite by activating cholecystokinin receptors on your brain cells and increasing the levels of the satiety hormone cholecystokinin (12). This benefit could potentially help people with health problems that have trouble controlling their weight or appetite, like diabetes or obesity.
May Support Skin Health
Omega 7 acids inhibit inflammation and may promote collagen synthesis through the activation of Silent information regulator 1 (SIRT1). The accumulation of excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a result of oxidative stress accelerates skin aging. In-vitro studies show that omega 7 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and promote collagen regeneration in the presence of hydrogen peroxide cytotoxicity (11). This slows the aging process and promotes skin health.
What Foods Contain Omega 7 Fatty Acids?
Eating foods high in Omega 7 gives you the beneficial properties of palmitoleic acids. Here is an omega 7 foods list for you to use in improving your diet.
Fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel are good sources of omega 7 fatty acids. Studies associate a higher fish intake with slower cognitive decline and a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s (6). Omega-fatty acids, which are plentiful in oily fish like salmon and mackerel, may help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Fish is an excellent source of omega-three fatty acids for overall health as well (10). The benefits include helping with arthritis pain by reducing joint inflammation; lowering triglycerides (blood fats); improving heart function; lowering blood pressure; protecting against stroke and depression.
Read More: Is Raw Salmon Good For You?
Sea buckthorn is a plant that grows in the Himalayas and is one of the omega 7 rich foods (1). It’s also a rich source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, carotene, and flavonoids that boost immunity.
Sea buckthorn juice combined with fresh lime juice is said to be good for health issues including:
- high blood pressure,
- diabetes mellitus type II,
- chronic inflammation of the lungs or skin (dermatitis herpetiformis),
- psoriasis of the scalp,
- peptic ulcers in adults,
- other diseases caused by oxidative stress.
Avocado oil is one of the best natural sources of omega-seven, as well as vitamin E (3). Avocados contain about three grams of monounsaturated fat per 100grams and are a good source for other essential nutrients including beta carotene, niacin, riboflavin, and folate (7).
Consuming avocados can lead to weight loss due to their high levels of fiber which slows digestion speed leading to fuller stomachs with smaller meals. This in turn causes less food consumption throughout the day. In addition, avocado oil contains heart-healthy fats such as oleic acid and palmitoleic acid which help reduce cholesterol levels for lowering risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.
Macadamia Nuts And Oil
Macadamia nuts and oil are some of the foods with omega 7 (13). According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, macadamia nut oil is one of your best sources of omega fats. Of all oils, it has the highest proportion of omega-7 fatty acids. This oil also contains alpha-linolenic acid, omega-12 fatty acids, and omega-13.
Macadamia nuts contain about 40% of the total fat content as oleic and 80% of the fats are monounsaturated fats (9). They also have a reasonably large amount of polyunsaturated fats, but they don’t require any cooking to break down their natural antioxidants which is why many people like them raw.
Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to improve longevity and reduce chronic diseases (5). It’s rich in omega-seven fatty acids, so it also helps you maintain your weight by enhancing metabolism. In fact, some studies have found that people who follow a Mediterranean diet (which involves consuming olive oil every day) may be at lower risk for obesity than those who don’t (2).
Some oils such as corn or soybean are high in polyunsaturated fats but contain little to no healthful monounsaturated fat like olive oil does; others such as coconut oil provide beneficial nutrients but are high in saturated fat (which may raise cholesterol levels). Olive oil offers all these benefits plus its versatility makes it an excellent choice for cooking.
Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants, which offer strong protection against heart disease and cancer as well as many other chronic diseases (15). Eating a diet high in these fatty acids has been shown to lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).
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Sea Buckthorn Recipes To Get Your Omega 7 Fix
Sea buckthorn is a great way to add omega 7 fatty acids into your diet. You can enjoy sea buckthorn berries whole but there are also many other ways you can enjoy them.
Below are amazing sea buckthorn recipe ideas you can try:
Sea Buckthorn Mousse (16)
This makes for a nice nutritious family dessert. And if you do not have fresh sea buckthorn berries you can begin the recipe at step two and use concentrated juice instead. It also tastes great with red berries.
- 350 grams of sea buckthorn
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 gelatin leaves
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Mix the sea buckthorn berries and water in a ratio of one to one. Let it boil for three minutes. Put the mixture in a blender and blend then strain it using a sieve.
- Soak your gelatin leaves in some cold water for approximately 5 minutes.
- Warm ⅔ of the juice with sugar in a pan until all the sugar dissolves. Add in the squeezed gelatin leaves and stir. Let the mixture cool.
- Whip the cream until it is thick then stir in the lemon juice and remaining sea buckthorn juice. Add in the gelatin-mix and stir.
- Transfer to a bowl and cool for a few hours before serving the mousse.
Sea Buckthorn Berry Cake (17)
Cake is an all time favorite. Chocolate or fruit cake is probably your favorite but you should consider trying the sea buckthorn berry cake. It is simple to make and delicious. The best part is you do not need an oven.
- 2 oz (57 grams) of walnuts
- 7 oz (198 grams) of petit beurre biscuits
- 16 oz ( 454 grams) of sea buckthorn berries
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons of gelatin
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream
- Combine the walnuts, biscuits and melted butter in a mixer bowl until the mixture is even. Transfer this mix to a springform pan, evenly spread it then press it gently.
- Over low heat, add the berries and sugar to a saucepan. Stir and simmer for about 15 minutes then remove from heat.
- Place the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain using a sieve and throw away the pulp and seeds.
- Add in the orange zest and gelatine, mix thoroughly then set aside.
- Put the whipping cream in a bowl then add the powdered sugar. Whip using a hand mixer until the cream is stiff.
- Add the berries mixture to the whip cream. Transfer this mixture to your springform pan and spread it. Refrigerate for about 6 to 7 hours then enjoy.
Calories per serving: 392 kCal
Sea Buckthorn Chutney (18)
You probably are familiar with tomato or mango chutneys. But you can make great chutney out of sea buckthorn too. The total preparation and cooking time is about one hour and five minutes.
- 1 ½ cups small pearl onions, peeled
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 Cortland apples, peeled and diced
- 2 peaches, peeled and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch clove
- 2 cups sea buckthorn berries
- Pepper and salt to taste
- In a cooking pan, brown the pearl onions in the butter. Season with pepper and salt. Put in all the other ingredients except the sea buckthorn berries.
- Simmer for about 20 minutes then add the berries. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the berries are cooked and the liquid reaches a syrup-like consistency.
- Pour the chutney in airtight or hot sterilized jars. You can store the chutney for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Sea Buckthorn Juice (19)
Juice is one of the best ways to get yourself to drink more fluids and stay hydrated. Instead of mango or orange juice, you can try sea buckthorn juice.
- Sea buckthorn berries
- Ice cubes
- Sweetener (of your choice)
- Wash the berries properly and blend them in a hand blender or food processor.
- Put in the sweetener and blend for another 1 or 2 minutes.
- Strain the juice using a sieve to remove the pulp.
- Add in some water to dilute the juice. If you do not mind the tart, you do not have to dilute the juice. Then put in the ice cubes and enjoy.
Serving: 100 grams
Calories per serving: 8 kCal
Sea Buckthorn Muffins (21)
Do you ever get tired of using the standard muffin recipe? You can try the sea buckthorn recipe. You get to enjoy a different taste and get a nutritious snack while still satisfying your sweet tooth.
If you are vegetarian, you can use an egg replacer instead of eggs.
Also be ready for some crunch because of the seeds. But you can use berry puree as an alternative if you want to avoid the seeds.
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ cup table sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 1 beaten egg
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ½ cup washed sea buckthorn berries (Can be fresh or frozen)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place the parchment liners in a muffin pan.
- In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and sugar. Add the berries and mix thoroughly.
- In a different bowl, mix the butter, milk and eggs.
- Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Stir until well combined.
- Pour the butter into your prepared muffin tin and bake for about 15 minutes
Omega 7 is just as important as other omega fatty acids. It plays an important role in the body. This fatty acid may help reduce inflammation and swelling, support heart health, and enhance insulin sensitivity. Eating foods rich in omega 7 fatty acids helps you get more of this fatty acid. Up your intake of avocado oil, macadamia nuts, fatty fish, and sea buckthorn to reap the benefits of omega 7.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Abundance of active ingredients in sea-buckthorn oil (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced 3-year incidence of obesity (2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Avocado Oil: Characteristics, Properties, and Applications (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Circulating palmitoleic acid is an independent determinant of insulin sensitivity, beta cell function and glucose tolerance in non-diabetic individuals: a longitudinal analysis (2019, springer.com)
- Extra virgin olive oil: More than a healthy fat (2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fish Intake Is Associated with Slower Cognitive Decline in Chinese Older Adults (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Hass avocado composition and potential health effects (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Implications of Palmitoleic Acid (Palmitoleate) On Glucose Homeostasis, Insulin Resistance and Diabetes (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Macadamia – an overview (n.d., sciencedirect.com)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Consumer (2021, ods.od.nih.gov)
- Omega-7 inhibits inflammation and promotes collagen synthesis through SIRT1 activation (2018, applbiolchem.springeropen.com)
- Oral administration of omega-7 palmitoleic acid induces satiety and the release of appetite-related hormones in male rats (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Palmitoleic Acid – an overview (n.d., sciencedirect.com)
- Palmitoleic acid reduces high fat diet-induced liver inflammation by promoting PPAR-γ-independent M2a polarization of myeloid cells (2020, sciencedirect.com)
- Potential Health Benefits of Olive Oil and Plant Polyphenols (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Sea Buckthorn: A Superfood You’ve Never Heard Of (2015, foodal.com)
- Sea Buckthorn Berry Cake | So Delicious (n.d., sodelicious.recipes)
- Sea Buckthorn Chutney (n.d., ricardocuisine.com)
- Sea Buckthorn Juice Recipe (n.d., littlesunnykitchen.com)
- The Role of the Novel Lipokine Palmitoleic Acid in Health and Disease 1, 2, 3 (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Top 10 Sea Buckthorn Recipes (2019, swisshomegarden.com)