Omega 6 vs. Omega 3. I have read a LOT about the bad omega 6’s and the good omega 3’s. I have been pretty confused by all of the information for months. I did finally read something last week that started to help me understand what it all means. I’ll try to re-cap here. Hopefully you will find this helpful.
First, Omega 6’s and Omega 3’s are polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). They can not be manufactured by the body from glucose. They must be obtained from food therefore they are called “essential” (anything not manufactured by the body is classified as “essential”).
This post gets a little long. If you are interested in some ideas that will hopefully help you achieve a healthy Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio read on…
Omega 6’s aren’t all bad. They are toxic in excess. – This I have been reading for a while. What I recently learned was where the Omega 6’s come from and how we get them in excess ~ finally!
- They are naturally found in Meat, Fish and Eggs. The amounts found in these foods are healthy.
- They are found in Vegetable Seed Oils. This is BAD. THROW OUT ALL VEGETABLE OIL.
- Don’t eat foods prepared with vegetable oils. This is pretty much most baked and fried foods. Lots of cake mixes call for vegetable oil – don’t do it.
- Cook with BUTTER, COCONUT OIL, BEEF TALLOW and Olive Oil (in that order) – YUM! Wait until you taste what you have been missing.
- Eat meats LOW in Omega 6’s: beef, lamb, and salmon
Omega 3’s. You’re probably nodding and smiling and thinking you have this under control. You have fish oil pills. You take them. You’re good. I agree. Good for you. Now that you know how to reduce your Omega 6 intake you are SUPER good but what about those of us who have fish oil pills and NEVER take them. That would be me. This has led to months of stress and guilt. Why can’t I take my nasty, gigantic fish oil pills? Why?! I don’t know. I’m just not good at it. I’m not good at pills in general and those suckers are big.
I’m happy to report that based on my reading last week I might be able to finally put the guilt aside (and the fish oil pills). Yay! If you are someone who can reduce the Omega 6’s and add about 1 pound of Salmon into your weekly diet you should have a healthy Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio – without the yucky pills.
What if you don’t like Salmon (or other oily fish) or you live in the mid-west and buying wild caught Alaskan Salmon will cost the equivalent of one semester of your daughter’s college tuition (I’m only exaggerating a little). Well, you can eat meat and eggs from animals that are pasture raised and naturally-fed. I know, you’re thinking that you probably couldn’t find more expensive meat or eggs. It can be expensive. A great place to get grass-fed beef is Trader Joe’s. We get our pastured eggs at Whole Foods. They are expensive. We eat a LOT of eggs and it’s worth it to me. I have noticed that depending on where you are in the country you have different options (even at Whole Foods) for pastured eggs. In Kentucky there were many options and the prices were quite good. We only have one option where we live and the price reflects that.
Another option for Grass-fed meat (and eggs) is buying from a sustainable farm. We buy a 1/4 of a cow 2x a year. We just stocked up for the winter. I love having my freezer full of organic, grass-fed meat. I used to be terrible at defrosting but I’ve trained myself to pull something out of the freezer in the morning. It’s great.
I know this is getting way long. Sorry. I’ll try and wrap it up. The big question is why worry about your ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3. A good Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is believed to help improve many common diseases. Some examples would be Cardiovascular Disease, Mental and Mood Disorders, Allergies, and Asthma. 80% of the polyunsaturated fat found in the tissue of the average American are Omega 6 fats not omega 3. Ideally you want a ratio of 2.5 to 1 omega 3 to omega 6. The good news is, dropping the vegetable oils will go a long way to help with this.
When you look at my “books to read” page you’ll see a decent list of books. The book that helped explain all of this to me last week was Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet, Ph. D. & Shou-Ching Jaminet, Ph. D. If you found this information interesting but still confusing (it is) and want to know more and read the clinical studies that they site you should get the book. They also have a blog: Perfect Health Diet. You can probably find more information/answers there.
A couple of good websites to help you find the best meats and vegetables:
Amy White MS HNC
I am a holistic nutrition counselor and believe real food is the true path to wellness. If you are interested in learning more about me and how I can help you, please see my story.
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