Eating Too Many Omega-6s Could Be Wrecking Your Health. Here’s How to Fix It
One important means to combat obesity and other chronic diseases? Smaller amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in our diet, and more omega-3, according to the authors of a new editorial, published in the journal open heart .
Both fatty acids are necessary for the organism: omega-6 found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, and corn oil, play a role in brain function, growth and development, reproductive health and promote healthy hair, skin, and bones. Omega-3 found in oily fish, reduce inflammation, regulate blood pressure, and are crucial for the brain and heart. They are also associated with a lower risk of many diseases, including diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, stroke, arthritis, asthma, and some cancers.
But it is important to find a balance between these two nutrients. As the editorial authors point out, people beings evolved on a diet that contained equal amounts of both. Today they report, thanks to technological advances and modern farming practices, Americans now eat sixteen times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3.
This is a problem because while omega-3 are antiinflammatory, Omega-6, generally proinflammatory. Therefore, when the omega-6 consumption is high and the intake of omega-3 is low, the result is excessive inflammation and an increase in the production of fat in the body.
The dramatic imbalance in the Western diet was associated with more than just obesity. It is also associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, depression, pain, inflammatory diseases such as asthma, and autoimmune diseases.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to consume more omega-3 are dialing back on omega-6. Here are five steps you can take to a healthier balance sheet:
Check the ingredients
Processed foods, frozen foods of all in canned soup, crackers, salad dressing, and may be loaded with omega-6, due to the oils used by manufacturers. Check the label and to reduce or avoid products which comprise corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and cottonseed oil. The same applies to the fast food, which is also typically made with these oils high in omega-6. You can see the ingredients in a variety of menu items on the Internet.
Buy organic, grass-fed meat and dairy products
Studies show that the products that come from grass-fed and organically raised animals contain more omega-3. Grass fed beef, for example, about 50% of the packages more omega-3 as compared with the conventional beef. (For more information, check out my post all about grass-fed meat.)
Replace margarine with EVOO
Since margarine is usually made with a high content of omega-6 oils, I recommend ditching it. In its place, using olive oil (low in omega-6) or fed grass oil (which is higher in omega-3 than conventional oil).
Eat more fish high in omega-3
Best sources include salmon, sardines, rainbow trout and mackerel. If you do not like fish, consider talking to your doctor or dietitian about fish oil supplements. He or she can help you choose a brand that provides the right amount of DHA and EPA types of omega-3 in fish for your health needs.
Download the factories
Eating more products helps displace processed foods that may be sources of omega-6. In addition, some type of vegetable products contain omega-3 fatty acids called ALA. It has a chemical structure other than the beneficial EPA and DHA, found in the fatty fish; but a small percentage of ALA may be converted to EPA and DHA in the body. ALA more you consume, the better.
ALA is found in nuts and seeds like walnuts, chia seeds and flax, as well as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, dark leafy greens and berries.
In general, I recommend aiming for a term of three to five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day. Each serving should be about a cup (or the size of a tennis ball when raw). One way to do this is to include vegetables in the three meals: Add them to your breakfast cocktail or omelet, eat a salad for lunch, and include a few servings of vegetables (steamed, fried, baked in the oven or on the grill) for dinner. As for fruits, which caters for breakfast, and the second portion of the mid-day snacks. In addition, sprinkle with nuts and seeds in smoothies, oatmeal, salads, and stir FYS. The best balance is achieved.