Omega-3 and 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential to the human body. Specifically, because we don’t naturally make it. Diet plays a vital role in this, not only by how much we consume, but the all-important omega-6:3 ratio.
We know omega-6s are found in oils, margarines, salad dressings, and highly processed foods. Omega-3s, ‘the good ones’, are derived from flaxseeds, walnuts, meat, milk products, and fatty fish.
As a society, our ratio is out of whack. Most people are sitting at 13:1, when the healthy omega-6:3 ratio is 3:1. So, why are we suffering from omega-6-heavy epidemic?
The omega 6:3 ratio isn’t widely discussed. We know omega fatty acids are essential nutrients and that ‘they come from fish’, but our understanding doesn’t extend much further than this.
As a result, we don’t make informed decisions when it comes to food choices.
The modern lifestyle…
We’re eating more processed food than ever before. There are almost-instant delivery apps that make it so easy not to cook. There’s an abundance of omega-6 foods. Today’s families have two working parents, so Mum doesn’t stay home to prepare home-cooked meals every day.
The nutritional environment has also transformed, with the emergence of the agricultural revolution and the industrialisation of our food supply. Food is being mass produced, with cheaper omega-6 oils such as sunflower or corn. McDonalds, for example, uses the omega-6 spiking soy and canola oils.
Yo-yo dieting & trends…
Sudden changes to the way you eat can skew the omega-6:3 ratio. While you might think you’re being healthy cutting out – say breads (because of a suspected gluten intolerance) – it’s important to understand what you’re replacing it with.
A multi-pronged approach is the best way to attack an imbalance. Read the labels and reduce the foods that have omega-6, eat like a diabetic to minimise insulin-spiking foods, and up your nutrient-dense foods (with magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, B3, and B6).
While the omega 6:3 ratio might be news to you, the remedy is in what you already know. Eat a balanced diet, avoid packaged foods, and adopt a long-term perspective. Avoid trends and, instead, make lifestyle choices from an empowered, informed stance.
We recommend starting with a BalanceTest to discover your omega-6:3 ratio. Keep these strategies in mind to bring your body back into a healthy omega-6:3 harmony.
You might be surprised at what the results tell you.