Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, olive oil, and a few other high-oleic oils are renowned for their abilities to decrease inflammation and improve cellular health. What you may not know is that these fatty superstars fight a battle for space inside your cell membranes.
The culprit is omega 6 fatty acids. The oils found in grains and seeds. While these aren’t necessarily the “bad guys” they do have an overwhelming advantage in infiltrating our cells. These are the fats that are put our foods by manufacturers to increase the shelf life of our food. Omega 3’s the clear “good guys” spoil faster and leave no benefit to food manufacturers and thus are left out.
With all the added Omega 6 fatty acids in our diet, the ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is skewed. It should be about 3:1. This onslaught of omega 6’s in our diets can cause inflammation and a whole host of diseases brought on by its effects from cancer and heart disease to insulin sensitivity (leading to weight gain) and arthritis.
Before you freak out and start eating salmon straight from the stream here are a few simple things to do to balance your ratios and start feeling the benefits of your omega 3’s.
- Use cooking oils such as olive, and coconut and avoid soy and corn-based oils.
- Eat grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and wild fish. Cattle are fattened up with grains before being processed for consumption. The excess grain in their diet gives the beef a higher content of omega 6’s. The same is true for fish fed with pellets.
- Limit your consumption of restaurant-fried foods. Not only will you save yourself a ton of unwanted calories, they are almost always fried in omega 6 oils.
- When eating grains avoid those foods that come in prepackaged bags inside of boxes. These almost always have added omega 6’s for added shelf life.
- Increase your intake of omega 3’s with highly concentrated fish oil such as Lipo N-3. Remember it’s the ratio that matters so if you find you have eaten extra omega 6’s one day, increase your omega 3’s to put that ratio back in balance.
- Eat foods from green plants every day and limit consumption of foods derived from seeds.