​ Have you ever wondered?

 

You hear about the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids just about everywhere. Every product that contains them has got it blasted onto the packaging with such force that it is impossible to ignore it. You’d be excused to think that it is a miracle supplement that will cure everything from blindness, cancer, obesity to low intelligence. Of course, we need it to live healthily and prevent many of these conditions, but it will probably not magically annihilate cancer or turn you into a genius overnight.

We also need Omega-6 fatty acids in our diets. They are equally important. So why is everyone promoting Omega-3s and not 6s? Most of the diet-related information says that we need to keep them in a ratio of 1 : 1. Analyses of our modern diet, however, show that this ratio can be skewed up to 200 : 1 in favour of Omega-6. So why is this a problem? And, is it a problem in the first place? I have been wondering about this for some time.

Current scientific thought on this is a bit inconclusive. On one hand, it says that the ratio does not matter. But on the other, there seems to be contradictory statement when looking at the Omega-6 page. Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while Omega-3s lower inflammation. Inflammation is necessary for healing wounds and fighting off infections, for example. But once the job is done, it does not need to continue. Eating more foods that promote inflammation may cause it to become chronic. As inflammation has been linked with some nasty diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and metabolic disease, you would want to prevent it from becoming chronic. Therefore, it makes sense to keep the ratio as close as possible to 1 : 1, as such a diet may help the body to turn inflammation on when needed, and also to have the means to turn it off once done.

In my opinion, it’s better to err on the side of caution, and actually pay attention to the ratio. If it does not matter, then no harm done whether it’s 1 : 1 or 200:1. If it does, then it’s worth the hassle to keep as close to 1 : 1 as possible.

Where can you find Omega-3 fatty acids? Unfortunately, our bodies do not make them and we have to provide them from the diet. Some best known and most abundant sources of Omega-3s are fish and krill oils as well as flax seed oil. Many other foods, like meat and eggs, also contain them but in smaller quantities. Omega-6s seem to be more abundant in our diet as most of the vegetable oils currently in use contain them, as well as poultry, eggs, wheat, cereals and nuts.

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About istayinshape

Passionate about keeping in shape body, mind and spirit. Can help you achieve that dream body.
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