BLOG NUTRITION, SUPPLEMENTS
October 1, 2012
Are you ready to rumble? Omega 6s vs. Omega 3s
So I am sure many of you have heard about omega-3 fatty acids and the first image that comes to mind is most likely salmon. Yes, you get it! Omega 3 fatty acids are probably the wonder of all time. They are an especially healthy type of polyunsaturated fat that your body cannot produce so you must get them from your diet. Eating everything from walnuts to salmon will help get you there. Omega 3s are a miracle worker. They do everything from lower total cholesterol, lower LDL (your lousy cholesterol), lower triglycerides, and increase you HDL (your healthy cholesterol).
Now you might have known all this before about omega 3s, but I want you to start looking at these fatty acids in a different light. The great power of omega 3s comes from the very nature that they are inherently an anti-inflammatory. With the ebb and flow of all things comes the omega 3's cousin, Omega 6 fatty acids. These are commonly found in cooking oils such as sunflower, safflower, soybean, cottonseed and corn oil and actually have primarily pro-inflammatory properties. Excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet promote scarring of the cardiovascular walls and lead to an increase risk of heart disease, cancer and inflammatory diseases. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 ranges from 3:1 to 5:1. However, the typical western diet ranges from 10:1 to 30:1 omega 6s to omega 3s! How could that be? What has changes that we are receiving such an imbalance of pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory components? It comes down to the western diet has more processed foods and oils than any other nation.
As a nation we are eating far more omega 6s simply due to the fact that we now consume high amounts of grain fed beef (high in omega 6s) vs grass fed beef (high in omega 3s) and processed oils. Our diet now includes huge amounts of oils that are extracted from plants and used for cooking or in prepared foods. These oils are primarily omega-6s. We use far more sesame, sunflower and safflower oils rather than eat sesame, sunflower or pumpkin seeds as our ancestors did in the past. Sunflower oil, for example, has a 46 to 1 ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s; compared to sunflower seeds that have a ratio closer to 5:1, and any omega-3s that are in these oils are eliminated if those oils are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated to extend the shelf life of foods, as occurs in most food manufacturing. Lesser used oils such as canola and olive oil have a ratio closer to 2:1 of omega-6s to omega-3s and are more optimal.
Now I will leave you with one more thought. I am sure you have heard many times once over that this high omega 6 to omega 3 ratio will increase heart disease. One can almost recite that fact and it almost loses its effectiveness as it is repeatedly boasted. With that said, I want you to think of your brain as well as your heart. A high omega 6 intake results in the disruption of your blood brain barrier and will break it down. This causes mental decline, loss of sharpness of short term memory and other brain inhibiting diseases. So the next time you reach for the sunflower or safflower oil to cook that great Miami tropical dish, garnish with a less processed food such as actual sunflower seeds or cook it with canola oil so your mind can stay sharp and your heart strong. Less processed is the smart brain way to be!
Bon Appetite for your mind with this Miami favorite!
Tropical Chicken Salad-Pineapple and almonds give this chicken salad its tropical taste.
• 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits
• 4 cups cubed cooked grass fed chicken
• 2 hard-cooked omega-3 fortified eggs and 6 egg whites, chopped
• 1 cup thinly sliced celery
• 1 cup slivered almonds
• 1 cup Organic 0% Oikos Greek Yogurt
• 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
• Salt and pepper to taste
Drain pineapple, reserving 1 tablespoon juice (discard remaining juice or save for another use). In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, chicken, eggs, celery and almonds. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; stir in reserved pineapple juice. Pour over chicken mixture; mix well. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 8 servings. Calories: 180 calories Fat: 6 grams Protein: 42 grams Carbohydrate: 26 grams