Avoid Disease by Balancing Your Omega-3s vs. Omega-6s

I often ask myself, “what is the true purpose of following a healthy lifestyle?” It is probably different for everyone, but I feel like disease prevention is high on the list of reasons why someone may want to stick to certain foods or start exercising regularly. My articles often point out the simple things we can change to prevent getting any kind of sickness. I truly love life and feel that we all deserve a chance to enjoy it, rather than having to worry about health issues that trouble us. Having said that, today’s topic is inflammation and what we can do to prevent it from making us sick. 

We are aware that some foods create inflammation and some help us soothe it. In previous posts, I’ve discussed the pH of foods and how an alkaline environment in the body is more healthy and much less likely to become sick. Meanwhile, there is another important factor: omega-3 vs. omega-6 balance.

Most of the fat sources available to us contain omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 just happens to be pro-inflammatory but the negative effects of its consumption are supposed to be offset by consuming omega-3 fatty acids, which are neutral and don’t damage the cells. See the fatty acids compete with each other for digestive enzymes so a healthy balance of omega-3 to omega-6 is crucial to avoid an overabundance of one or the other. In comparison to the ideal 1:1, the average Americans have a ratio between 10:1 and 20:1 of omega-6 to omega-3. Many believe this inflammation is the leading cause of heart disease, cancer, and all other Western diseases.

The problem of this imbalance is the introduction of vegetable oils. They are involved in the production of pretty much all conventional standard American food. Look on the label of most items in the middle of the grocery store and they are sure to contain safflower, sunflower, corn, cottonseed and other hydrogenated vegetable oils. There is no omega-3 content in those harmful oils and, therefore, it throws our balance way off. Add to that, the fact that we consume so many deep fried products and such little actually good-for-you seafood. A body of a person consuming this standard diet is a harbor for disease. If you do not make a solid plan to have a balanced diet, eventually you are going to feel the difference.

Quality, wild-caught seafood and krill oil should be a part of our diet. Fresh, wild-caught salmon in the fish section of the supermarket is usually out of our price range, but you can buy good frozen packs and experiment with other types of wild-caught fish. It needs to be wild-caught because the fish gets its omega-3 content from its diet. Fish bred in farms receives a truly pathetic combination of feed, which is most concentrated on enhancing size and red color. You should steam your seafood, grill, or pan fry it in coconut oil or grass-fed butter. Also, seafood happens to be the only source of magical EPA and DHA you often hear about in fish oil commercials. Other sources of omega-3 include flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts, and grass-fed beef.

When it comes to supplementing with fish oil, krill is actually a better product. They both help decrease inflammation and lower cholesterol but krill oil contains phospholipids and more EPA than fish oil.

The main message this post contains is that we need to be mindful of our fat consumption. Fat certainly holds a very important place in our diet, but we need to focus on eating quality fats. Wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, coconut and olive oils should all be a part of a perfect diet. If working on a budget, buy canned fish and off-brand oils. By paying attention to the sources of fats, we can protect ourselves from disease and feel good everyday! Please feel free to share ideas in the comment section