What is omega 6?
Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that our bodies require for various functions. They are essential because our bodies cannot produce them on their own, so we need to get them from our diet.
These fatty acids are found in a wide range of foods, including vegetable oils like soybean oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil. They are also present in nuts and seeds like walnuts, sesame seeds, and flaxseeds. Additionally, they can be found in meat and poultry, although levels may vary depending on the animal's diet.
How do omega 6s impact my health?
When consumed in moderate amounts, omega-6 fatty acids provide several health benefits. They are involved in the production of hormones that regulate various bodily functions, including blood clotting, inflammation, and the immune response. They also play a role in maintaining the integrity and flexibility of cell membranes.
What is the relationship between omega 6 and omega 3 and how does that impact my health?
While both types of fats are essential, an excessive intake of omega-6s compared to omega-3s can have negative health impacts. Excessive omega-6 intake can promote inflammation in the body, which is associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Inflammation plays a role in the development and progression of these conditions.
Though there is no consensus on a specific ideal ratio to target, it is generally supported that the lower the better. However, in the Western diet, the ratio can be as high as 16:1 or more.
How do I balance my omega 6 and omega 3 intake?
Let’s not forget that omega-6 fatty acids are not inherently bad for our health. They are necessary for our bodies to function properly. The key is to maintain a balanced intake of omega-6s and omega-3s.
To achieve this balance:
- reduce the amount of processed and fried foods you eat, which often contain high amounts of omega-6-rich oils.
- focus on adding more omega-3-rich foods into your diet, like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), chia seeds, and walnuts.
In summary, omega-6 fatty acids are essential fats that our bodies need for various functions. They are found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and meat. While they provide health benefits when consumed in moderation, an excessive intake of omega-6s compared to omega-3s can promote inflammation and increase the risk of chronic diseases. Maintaining a nourishing balanced diet is crucial for optimal health.
How can I learn more or get access to healthy foods?
The Wellness League Search Tool helps you find free and low cost programs in your community to learn more about healthy eating or find a food pantry. On the search page, simply enter your zip code and the resource you’re looking to find like “nutrition education” or “food pantry”.