Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids in Your Diet
There has been much discussion on the value of taking in enough Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Please note that these essential (you can’t make them yourself, and you need them to stay alive) fatty acids are not interchangeable. They perform different functions and provide different benefits.
- Reduce triglyceride levels, which leads to reduced risk of heart disease.
- Reduce blood pressure.
- Raise HDL (good cholesterol).
- In rheumatoid arthritis, Omega-3 has been shown to reduce joint pain.
- Boosts the effectiveness of other anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Diets high in Omega-3s lead to lower levels of depression and anxiety.
- Boost the efficacy of anti-depressants.
- Omega-3s reduce ADHD symptoms in children.
- Provide protection against aging-linked Alzheimers, dementia, and gradual memory loss.
Cancer Risk--Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers
- Colon cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
Omega-6 Fatty Acids (GLA, AA, LA, and EPO)
Promotes and Regulates
- Brain function
- Metabolic rate
- Bone health
- Skin and hair growth
You need both Omega-3 and Omega-6 to survive and thrive, BUT the typical American diet contains about 20 times more Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3 fatty acids. Too much of a good thing (Omega-6) can be a bad thing. Some Omega-6 fatty acids are inflammatory...they serve to counteract the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids. You just aren't built to take in too high a ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3.
The current thinking, based on observations of various cultures and reconstruction of primitive diets, is that the correct ratio of the two is 1:1
Foods high in in Omega-3s:
- Oily Fish (Mackerel, Sardines, Anchovies, Herring, Tuna, and Salmon)
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Egg Yolks
Foods high in in Omega-6s:
Honestly, you do not need to worry about taking in Omega-6. It’s hard to avoid. It’s everywhere.
- Vegetable Oils
Foods to avoid that contain Omega-6s:
- Heated Vegetable Oils
- Take it easy on the nuts, but enjoy them raw and in moderation.
Omega-6 fatty acid-rich foods are generally great for you, so seek them out and make them part of your nutritional routine.