Omega 3s versus Omega 6s and Inflammation
In today’s society, there is always something new that is bad or good for you. 50 years ago, everyone thought coconut oil was bad for your heart, and now studies show the opposite, that it protects your heart. In fact countries that eat the most coconut oil in their diet have the lowest rates of heart disease. The 80’s and 90’s brought the trend of the low-fat diet, and everything from salad dressing to salsa made claims of “low-fat” on the label. But the reality of these low-fat diets are that people just ate more sugar and refined carbohydrates (like breads and white pasta) which cause blood sugar issues and increase triglyceride levels which also stress the heart. Continuing our Healthy Fats blog series, this time we will look at Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fats and foods rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
The thinking that fat is bad, is still very prevalent. But contrary to what you might think, your body needs fat to survive. All foods are made of three major components, protein, carbohydrates and fat. So fat is essential for our survival, in fact good fats are very important for the health of the brain, hormones and for healthy cell structure. Your need and hunger for fat is real; you just have to make sure that you choose the healthy fats to give your body good quality fuel.
Omega – 3s and Inflammation
The balance of fat in our diet affects many body processes. Here is just one example. Two major types of fats in our food are omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. The body needs both for survival, but our heavily processed diet has too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3. For instance packaged foods, fast foods and low-quality vegetable oils (like corn and soya oil) are high in omega-6s. The balance of these fats affects the inflammation levels in our body. Inflammation is a necessary process to help bring nutrients to a wound or injury, but too much inflammation is a precursor to many diseases. Omega-3s help reduce inflammation in the body, or turn off the response when it is no longer needed. In contrast, too much omega-6 fats actually encourage inflammation in the body.
Foods High in Omega-3s
There are plenty of whole foods that contain natural and healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include avocado, shrimp, olives, salmon, walnuts, organic milk, grass-fed beef, beans, wild rice, wild game, sardines, anchovies, herring, almonds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds.
Omega-3 Rich Recipes
Check out these previous blog posts for some great omega-3 rich recipes:
Watch for part 3 in this blog series, to find out which oils are the best to cook with. In the meantime, feel free to send us your feedback! And be sure to include a link back to your own blog via the commentluv feature here on the site.
Until next time,