Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fats.
What ARE they? And are they good for our health?
🐟 Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats are long chain polyunsaturated fats. Their names are to do with their chemical structure ie where the double bond is placed – in the 3rd or 6th position.
🐟 The most common types of Omega 3 fats are EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid (try say that ten times fast 😂), DHA aka docosahexaenoic acid and ALA or alpha-linolenic acid.
The most common types of omega 6 fats are Linoleic Acid and Arachidonic acid.
Both fats are ESSENTIAL for our health, that means we need both of them in our diet, because our body can’t make them.
❤️ Omega 3’s have many beneficial functions, like improving our heart and brain health and playing a role in reducing anxiety and stress.
❤️Both Omega 3 and Omega 6 have very important roles around inflammation.
Omega 3 reduces inflammation and Omega 6 increases it. And yes, increasing inflammation can be a good thing! When we have an infection, are sick, or our body requires healing processes, we need omega 6 to help drive that. When we are well we need those responses dampened down by Omega 3’s.
The important thing about Omega fats is getting the RATIO right. We want the right amounts of each fats for our bodies to work optimally.
This is where it gets a bit tricky because in most Western countries we get WAY too much Omega 6 fats and not nearly enough of the Omega 3’s. The ideal omega 6:omega 3 ratio is around 4:1, currently Westerners eat more like 16:1.
Omega 6 fatty acids are in most plant based foods and their oils, such as wheat bran, corn, nuts, seeds as well as poultry and eggs. Most processed food is high in Omega 6 due to the types of oils they add to the products.
Omega 3 fats are found in very few foods. Fatty fish such as sardines, tuna and salmon and a few vegan options such as chia seeds, walnuts and linseeds.
So what to do?
🐟 Well the answer to every health related question. Eat more plants! Load your plates with fruit and vege and reduce how much processed foods you are eating.
🐟 Aim to eat fish and seafood twice a week
🐟 Include chia seeds, linseeds and/or walnuts to your diet, daily.