Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids because the human body cannot manufacture them. They must be obtained from dietary sources.
Essential fatty acids are building blocks for hormones involved with immune function, blood clotting, cell growth and cell membranes. Fatty acids are also crucial for normal brain function and growth & development. Omega-6 fatty acids increase systemic inflammation (as a normal and important component of the immune response) and omega-3 fatty acids decrease systemic inflammation.
The ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids in the diets of early humans is estimated to be 1:1.
The ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids in the Standard American Diet (aka SAD) is approximately 10:1 or higher.
How to correct your omega-6:omega-3 fatty acid ratio:
Eliminate or drastically reduce your consumption of vegetable oils such as corn oil, sunflower, safflower, soybean oil, canola oil and cottonseed oil. These oils are rampantly used in processed & fast foods, found abundantly in American homes and are a low quality source of omega-6’s. We’re eating far too much of this stuff!
Use extra virgin olive oil liberally in cooking or raw on salads and such. It is a great, high quality source for both omega-6’s & omega-3’s.
Increase your consumption of walnuts, flax seed, hemp seed oil, eggs from pasture raised chickens and cold water oily fishes such as salmon, tuna, herring, trout and halibut. Eat chia seeds – yes, the pottery that grows is rich with omega-3’s!
Grass fed beef is also a good source of omega-3’s and is usually purchased direct from your local farmer. While grain fed beef, found abundantly in US restaurants and grocery stores, is high in omega-6’s with little to zero omega-3’s.
This post is dedicated to Kim!