When researching a previous post about healing fats, I learned that the balance between omega 3 fats and omega 6 fats is another health concern.
First of all, you have to know the difference between the two. Both are important for maintaining a healthy body and neither are manufactured by our bodies, so must be obtained from our diets. While 6s are found in the foods within a common modern daily diet, 3s are usually supplemented.
- cold water fish (sardines, salmon, herring etc) and fish oil
- fresh fruit and vegetables
- garlic, flax seeds, walnuts
- extra virgin olive oil
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- wheat, whole-grain bread, and cereals
- grain fed chicken and their eggs
- refined vegetable (soy, corn, sunflower, safflower) and grape seed oils
- meat from grain fed animals
- processed and fast foods
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Both omega 3s and omega 6s have health benefits and drawbacks. While 6s are helpful in treating the symptoms of arthritis, diabetic nerve pain, menopause, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, eczema, and even allergies, too many 6s can cause depression, dyslexia, obesity, hyperactivity, and other health problems.
Omega 3s are crucial for our brain, hormone, and immune function, good vision and hair, skin, cell and tissue growth. They are helpful in treating symptoms of lupus, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, breast and colon cancers and irritable bowel disease. A deficiency in 3s can result in conditions such as depression and mood swings, poor memory, fatigue, poor circulation, dry skin and more.
The problem comes when too many 6s, especially from vegetable oils and grain fed (as opposed to grass-fed) meat, outweigh and overtake the benefits of the 3s. This happens because the 3s and 6s compete for the same enzymes to aid in their metabolism. Although a ratio of 1:1 between 6s and 3s is the ideal balance to strive for, studies have shown modern diets to be as high as 16:1 This higher proportion of omega 6s is leading to the increase of many disease states within our modern societies including arthritis, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and other inflammatory processes, as well as numerous types of cancer.
Start paying attention to the ratio of omega fatty acids in your diet and make some changes before your health takes a turn for the worse!