Omega 6 and Omega 3: The Difference and the Balance
We are taught to be well versed in our healthy oils, by eating lots of them and not to worry about fat that is deemed “healthy,” and refrain from eating processed carbohydrates (because that is what makes us fat). But taking a step beyond fat and weight gain, I challenge everyone to look at body inflammation and what is making us “sick”. What I have been finding is that most people are simply too inflamed and are consuming way too much Omega 6 on a regular basis. Though there is a large spectrum of Omega 6 and Omega 3 (polyunsaturated) rich sources, the key is to eat from low Omega 6 sources and high Omega 3 sources and maintain an anti-inflammatory diet. Furthermore, most people do not understand the difference between the specific Omegas, and how eating the different ratios of specific Omegas is a direct translation into how we feel, look, how our body functions, and yes, weight gain as well.
I want to focus on Omega 6 and Omega 3 for this article and how that relates to body inflammation. Nature has constructed our bodies to function optimally at a 1:1 (Omega 6: Omega 3) ratio. Anthropological research points out that our ancestors did exactly this and had a zero percentage of disease and chronic illness. But from 140 years ago, when the industrial revolution began its start, this ratio began to widen. Processed vegetable oils and the feed change to livestock (which in turn altered the fat ratio of the meat) turned the average ratio to 3:1. The further the ratio from 1:1, where clear thinking, minimized risk for chronic disease and the feeling of healthy, the more of the opposite persists. Unfortunately, our modern-day way of life and eating has thrown our ratios and proportions to disastrous levels. The average person is consuming 16 times the Omega 6 as our body was designed to maintain. Furthermore, we are consuming far less Omega 3. This equation leads to chronic inflammation, which leads to disease and cancer.
Here is a list of some high Omega 6 sources (and ones to avoid):
✗ Safflower Vegetable Oil (Linoleic over 70%, 74615 mg Omega 6)
✗ Grapeseed Oil
✗ Sunflower Oil
✗ Poppy seed Oil
✗ Wheat Germ Oil
✗ Corn Oil (53510 mg Omega 6)
✗ Soybean Oil
✗ Mayonnaise (40567 mg Omega 6)
✗ Walnut Oil
✗ Shortening Hydrogenate
✗ Fast foods
✗ Fried foods
✗ Baked goods (2514 mg Omega 6)
✗ White Bread (2462 mg Omega 6)
✗ Turkey meat
✗ Sausage meat
✗ Donuts (2456 mg Omega 6)
The take away is to load up on good quality Omega 3 sources which will in turn help the body to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, developing heart arrhythmias, decrease triglyceride levels as well as blood pressure. My top suggestions are: such as salmon, sardines, trout and anchovies (a few times or 8 oz a week), healthy oils (flax, hemp and coconut oils), up your intake of beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower), avocados, spinach, winter squash and high-quality omega 3 and krill supplements. Stay away from fried and processed, otherwise “dead” food. Lastly, eat much more Omega 3 rich foods (than Omega 6).