Omega 3 Foods – the Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids
Did you know?
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are called essential because our bodies can’t produce all the fats we need, so we must supply them via supplements and/or food. EFA’s, such as omega 3 and omega 6, play a big role in keeping our bodies healthy. Not only are they important, but the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6, is also very important. So, let’s start at the beginning.
Omega-3 fats have a variety of health benefits related to their anti-inflammatory properties. The omega-3 fats come in three main forms: DHA, EPA, and ALA. ALA is found in certain nuts, seeds, and pastured animal foods like grass-fed beef and dairy where EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, and cod liver oil. Most omega 3 benefits have been found in EPA and DHA so you will want to focus more on consuming those omega 3 foods.
Omega 3 Foods: flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, fish roe (eggs), fatty fish, fish oil/seafood (WILD CAUGHT: Mackerel, Salmon Cod Liver Oil, Herring, Tuna, White Fish, Sardines, Anchovies), soybeans, spinach, butternuts, brazil nuts, cashews, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, watercress and egg yolks
The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are immense and they have been proven effective in the treatment and prevention of hundreds of medical conditions. Here are the most common medical conditions that consuming more omega-3 foods have been prescribed for:
- High cholesterol
- IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
- Alzheimer’s disease • Macular degeneration
- Skin issues (eczema and psoriasis)
Omega-3’s has also been shown to support weight loss, healthy pregnancy, athletic recovery and thickening hair and nails.
Omega-3 deficiency is common in industrialized countries because of the excess consumption of omega-6 fats. The average ratio in America is 20:1 when it should be closer to a 2:1 ratio. When this ratio becomes imbalanced it will cause systemic inflammation throughout the body leading to chronic disease. Omega-3 deficiency symptoms can include poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings, joint pain and autoimmune disease.
Most people who are omega-3 deficient include those who consume a large amount of processed foods, and hydrogenated oils (Trans fats). Americans get almost 70% of their omega-6 from oils, shortening, and margarine and just 6% from beans, seeds, and nuts, 1% from eggs, and 13% from meat, poultry, and fish. So, when talking about omega-6 intake, we are really talking about French fries (cooked in vegetable oil), packaged pastries (made with shortening), and processed, high-sugar, high-(vegetable)fat junk food intake. If most of our omega-6 is coming from the linoleic acid found in cooking oils and processed baked goods, most of the omega-6 we’re eating is highly oxidized, rancid, and maybe even worse.
Scientists estimate that our ancestors consumed Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats in a ratio of close to 1:1. As vegetable oil consumption and processed grain consumption have risen, so has the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats.
Vegetable oils are very high in Omega-6 fats:
- Safflower oil is 75% Omega-6 and 0% Omega-3
- Sunflower, Corn, Cottonseed and Soybean oils are all more than 50% Omega-6 fats with 0% Omega-3s
- Fish oils are 100% Omega-3 and 0% Omega-6
Think about how many foods the average American consumes that contains vegetable oils, soy or processed grains compared to foods that contain fatty fish or fish oils. It is easy to see why it is now estimated that we consume (on average) a 12:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 foods. It is important to get Omega-3 fats and Omega-6 fats in a healthy balance, and as close to a 1:1 ratio as possible. This can certainly be difficult with our modern food supply.
Try to make sure that you and your children get the right type of omega-3 fats. Go for a pollution-free, eco-friendly, and highly sustainable animal food source. I always emphasize making healthy, wholesome food choices to get all the nutrients you need, and if you are unsure, we are here to answer questions and help with your health journey. So, come in and see us, and…… “Let Us Be Your Doorway to Health”.
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce triglycerides
- Slow the development of plaque in the arteries
- Reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm
- Reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke
- Lessen the chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease