Almost everybody who is interested in healthy eating, has heard for the benefits of taking omega-3 fatty acids. I won’t bother you, with the information of exactly what are omega fatty acids. HERE you could read further.
What I want to pay attention to I the connection between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. What should be the proportion between them and how the bigger quantities of omega-6 could be bad for your health!
In the past, our ancestors used to “ingest” omega 3 and omega-6 fatty acids, in a proportion close to 1:1. With the change of our eating habits and the food we eat, this proportion has changed a lot, in favor of omega-6 fatty acids. Statistics show that nowadays people take omega3:omega-6 fatty acids in proportion of 1:20!
A huge difference! Probably you are wondering where does that huge difference come from? And the answer is just one- the food we eat! By introducing more plant oils in our diets, we increase the intake of omega-6, as most plant oils contain omega-6 in bigger quantities than omega-3 fatty acids!
HERE you could read more about how mammals ( and this is what we are), cannot interconvert omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as they are different families. What is more important is that the metabolism of both families requires the same enzymes, which leads to a “competition” between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This means, that the bigger quantities of one of the omegas will interfere with the absorption of the other kind!
You should keep in mind that the bigger quantities of omega-6, causes inflammation in your body! (HERE) And when the food you eat contains omega-6 in bigger quantities, this leads to not enough omega-3. In my opinion this is the key cause and correlation between food and diseases nowadays. If you are interested in this topic, you are probably aware that exactly inflammation is the cause of most modern diseases!
That’s why when somebody tells me how unhealthy animal fats are and how healthy are plant oils, I am about to start hitting my head in the keyboard! ( 😉 ) Exactly the recommendation to eat plant oils and limit the consumption of animal fats, contributes to the bad health of the population!
Now, the followers of the theory about the health benefits of plant oils, will rush into telling me, how flax oil and other oils from that sort, contain the so called ALA ( a kind of omega-3), which in theory could be converted into EPA and DHA ( omega-3, which are actually essential for your body). The problem is that the conversion of Ala into EPA and DHA is less than 10%! Besides that for the conversion, there should be enough iron, zinc and B6, which are pretty deficient in plants! That means, that the presence of ALA in a particular food, does not guarantee the conversion into EPA and DHA!
And as you know, animal products contain plenty of iron and B vitamins!
In this chart, you will get to see the quantities of different types of omega in different food sources!
As a conclusion, I will mention that if you want to improve the proportion between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, you should drastically change your eating habits and your diet! Stay away from processed foods, “modern foods” and decrease the consumption of plant oils. Increase the consumption of animal fats! Include more fish and seafood in your diet, which contain more omega-3! And in addition to that you could supplement with omega-3!
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