Essential fatty acids are chains of carbon atoms our bodies are not capable of producing on their own. We must get them from our food since they are essential for the following bodily functions:
- Boost metabolism
- Reduce inflammation
- Increase metabolism by regulating adrenal and thyroid hormones
- Promote weight loss
- Lower blood sugar and improve insulin resistance
- Great for the immune system
- Improve heart function
- Prevent brain damage
What is a Healthy Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio?
A healthy ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is in the range of 1:1 and 1:4, but most Americans consume their essential fatty acids in a ratio of 1:16 or 1:20! This is due to the high amounts of Omega-6 that are found in many of the foods we eat.
Too Much of a Good Thing: The Dangers of Omega-6
The body needs both essential fatty acids, but too much Omega-6 is actually unhealthy if not balanced with an equal amount of Omega-3. High amounts of Omega-6 can cause inflammation in the body, leading to weight gain, autoimmune diseases like arthritis, kidney failure, and problems with the heart.
Omega-6 can be found in the following foods:
- Refined vegetable oils
- Deep-fried food
Why Should You Eat More Omega-3s?
In order to achieve a balanced fatty acid ratio, lower your intake of Omega-6s, and increase your intake of Omega-3s. Omega-3 fats reduce appetite, regulate hormones, prevent fat storage, can improve heart health, fight inflammation, prevent dementia, and support overall mental health.
There are three main types of Omega-3:
- DHA (DOCOSAHEXAENOIC ACID) don’t confuse with DHEA ( an adrenal hormone)
- EPA ((EICOSAPENTAENOIC ACID)
- ALA (ALPHA-LINOLENIC)
Enzymes in the liver must convert ALA to EPA & DHA. This requires a lot of energy and less than 15% gets converted. Therefore, stick with foods high in DHA & EPA. It is best to source your Omega-3s from sea-based creatures. This includes cold-water fish oils, wild Alaskan salmon, and even seaweed. The majority of research on the health benefits of Omega-3 has surrounded EPA and DHA.
CLICK HERE to watch my video where I teach you more about how to increase essential fatty acids for the best health outcome. Start here and keep me posted on your healthy journey.
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