Balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6
One area of my health that I have recently been focusing on is balancing my Omega 3 and Omega 6 ratios. I can always feel inflammation coming on when I haven’t been paying attention. So many processed foods, even if they seem healthy (like seaweed snacks) are made with Omega 6 oils. An imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 can send me into a flare.
Omega 3 and omega 6 are essential fatty acids that our bodies need to function properly. They play important roles in maintaining brain health, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being. However, it is important to have a balance of these two types of fatty acids in the diet.
Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, have anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Omega 6 fatty acids, found in cooking oils, nuts, and seeds, also have anti-inflammatory properties but in excess can increase inflammation in the body.
A diet high in omega 6 and low in omega 3 can lead to an imbalance in the body, which can contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is around 2:1. However, the typical Western diet is much higher in omega-6 fatty acids, with a ratio of around 16:1. This imbalance can lead to a host of health problems, such as an increased risk of heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are good for you because they have been shown to have a number of health benefits. For example, they can help to reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease, improve brain health, and even reduce the risk of certain cancers. They also play a key role in the development and function of the nervous system, and have benefits for mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Some common sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
Fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines
Seafood, such as mussels, oysters, and shrimp
Nuts and seeds, such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts
Plant oils, such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil
Supplements, such as fish oil, krill oil, and algal oil
To achieve a balanced ratio of omega 3 to omega 6, it is recommended to consume more foods high in omega 3 and limit the intake of foods high in omega 6. Eating more fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines can increase omega 3 intake. Additionally, using olive oil and avocado oil for cooking instead of oils high in omega 6 such as corn and soybean oil, and reducing the intake of processed and fried foods can help to balance the ratio.
Is balancing your Omega 3/ Omega 6 ratio on your radar? If so, what do you do?