Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Bad?
You’ve probably heard that omega fatty acids are good for you, and that’s mostly true. Things can get a little more complicated when you have an imbalance of different omegas in your diet. Let’s take a look:
• The two main types of omega fatty acids found in food are omega-3 and omega-6.
• Both are essential fatty acids your body needs that you must get through your diet. Each have specialized roles and different effects on your body’s cells.
• The structures of each are a little different as well. Omega-6s have a branch point in their molecules (that omega-3s don’t) that can easily be converted into a compound that actually increases inflammation in the body.
• This increase in inflammation occurs when your body is flooded with omega-6s without enough omega-3s to balance them out.
• Omega-6s are especially high in refined vegetable oils and foods cooked in vegetable oils. They can also be found in nuts and seeds.
• Vegetable oils tend to be in abundance in many peoples’ diets. This leads to an imbalance in omegas and increased inflammation. Most Americans have an omega-3 to omega-6 balance of 1:20. Ideally you want a ratio of 1:1.
• Omega-6s are essential, so rather than focus on reducing them in your diet, consider increasing the amount of omega-3s you get from your food to balance them out.
• So, are omega-6 fatty acids bad? Nope, as long as they’re balanced with the omega-3s you’re getting. Throw off this balance and you could have problems.
• If you’re looking for more omega-3s, go for things like salmon, sardines, flax seeds, walnuts, seaweed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds.
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