SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT on Essential Fats.
Can too Much Omega 6 fats harm you?
I have often mentioned the importance of Essential fats, the Omega 3’s, 6’s and 9’s – but most of you may not be aware that although a certain amount of Omega 6 fats found in nuts, seeds, grains, beans and animal products are needed for proper growth, nerve and immune function, BUT – too much Omega 6’s can trigger inflammation which is now known to be one of the causes of both cancer and heart disease (the two biggest killers in the Western World). In fact the major component of arterial plaque is made from polyunsaturated fats (such as those found in corn and soya oils), not saturated fat!
Our ancestors ate wild game, green leaves, nuts, seeds and fish. Their diet was high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Things started to change over the last 100 years and especially the last 50 years. We now consume far too much Omega 6 fats and this is having a detrimental effect on our health.
This is because the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is imbalanced. A healthy ratio should be around 2:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3, yet the average person in the West now consumes up to 25 times more Omega 6 fats than the healthier Omega 3 fats. Put simply we are eating far too much Omega 6 at the expense of Omega 3, which is triggering a host of health problems.
It has been estimated that the average person in the Western World eats approximately 70 pounds of polyunsaturated vegetable oils every year. Vegetable oils are very high in Omega 6; the worst offenders being corn oil, mass produced sunflower oil, safflower oil and soya bean oil. Other oils to avoid are canola oil, grape seed, poppy seed, cottonseed, peanut and all margarines. These oils oxidize easily in the body causing more inflammation and because Omega 6 and Omega 3 both compete for the same enzyme process in the body – it leads to a deficiency in synthesizing the anti-inflammatory and brain-building Omega 3’s. Also, meat and chicken are these days commonly grain-fed so they are virtually devoid of Omega 3 fatty acids and unless grass fed, will have high Omega 6 profiles. Also the Omega 3 in farmed fish is displaced by Omega 6.
Foods that are high in Omega 6 are likely to be processed foods (made with polyunsaturated oils) for example cookies, chips, snack foods, cakes, salad dressings as well as foods such as peanuts and other nut butters such as almond and cashew. Remember we NEED some Omega 6’s, but we urgently need to get the ratio more balanced.
This can be done by eating more Omega 3-rich foods. Direct sources include oily fish such as salmon (try and buy wild salmon), sardines, swordfish, mackerel, scallops and tuna plus Krill oil (not if you are allergic to shellfish) and cod liver oil. Indirect sources (which need to be converted in the body) include flax seed oil and chia seeds.
If you eat meat, make sure it is organic grass-fed and your eggs are from an organic free-range source. Fish should as much as possible be wild-caught and not farmed. At all costs avoid eating too much red meat cooked at high temperatures.
As much as possible eliminate all mass produced vegetable cooking oils and only use raw organic coconut oil, ghee (clarified butter) or butter if frying.
Good fats are obtained from coconut oil, olive oil and avocados. Even though avocados are high in Omega 6, they contain health-promoting medium-chained fatty acids which are great for your heart and will help to raise HDL the ‘good cholesterol. Both Hemp oil and walnut oil can also be taken. Even though they are higher in omega 6, they both contain good amounts of Omega 3 and their ratios are not that high being 3:1 and 4:1 respectively in favour of Omega 6.
WAYS TO RAISE YOUR OMEGA 3 STATUS PLUS THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF KRILL OIL When it comes to reducing the inflammation that is so rife today thanks to us eating far too many Acid forming foods (click here for my Acid/Alkaline Help Sheet), as well as excessive intake of Omega 6 fats – a great way to increase your Omega 3 intake is by taking Krill Oil AND fish oils.
Krill are tiny shrimp like crustaceans which flourish in the freezing Antarctic waters. Krill contains a high proportion of phospholipids which are the building blocks of cells and are easy for us to absorb. They have been found to be very useful in reducing joint inflammation, whilst normal Omega 3 fish oils are well known for helping to reduce cardiovascular disease and supporting healthy brain function. Sadly if you have an intolerance to shellfish, then avoid taking the krill unless you have discussed this option with your Doctor.
I take around 300mg daily of Antarctic Krill oil with one or two grams of good quality Fish Oil. And if the Krill Oil and Fish Oils are taken with liquid Hyaluronic acid daily, this will further aid joint health, plus nourish your skin and eyes from the inside out! All above are a/v at good health stores.