There has been a lot of buzz about the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. It has been said that Omega-3’s are the good fats, and Omega-6’s are the bad fats. Let’s break the hype down.
Omega-3 (the good fats) are found in fish, water, and many foods. Your body does get some of its needs, but the best ratio for maximum health is 3:1 of Omega-6 to Omega-3. Some doctors recommend a ratio close to 1:1, and you may find your body getting too much of the Omega-6’s with the high consumption of processed foods and oils, found as many processed foods and margarine as fresh foods and salad dressings. Omega-3’s are important when it comes to brain cell membranes and cell repair, reducing inflammation and lowering your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They are also important for the health of your hair and skin, reducing the risk of wrinkles, and promoting healthier skin.
Omega-6 (the bad fats) are found in many oils, margarine, and other processed foods, and most processed oils, such as sunflower, safflower, and corn oil, are very high in Omega-6. Trans-fats are another source of Omega-6, and again this is something to be aware of. Cooking with cooking oils high in Omega-6 is the number one source of inflammation in our food, and the highest contributing cause for coronary artery disease. Stop contributing to the biggest cause of our premature cardiovascular and overall health problems: Trans-fats!
What is the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 that should be part of our daily diet? The optimal amount is approximately 5:1 to have approximately a 1:1 ratio. This means that you should be consuming roughly a 1:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 in your daily diet. If you are cooking with oils high in Omega-6, try to work these oils into your diet in the ratio of 1:1 to 1:2 in order to keep a balanced ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3. What are the best sources for Omega-3?
The best sources of Omega-3 are flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts. If you are worried about your heart, I would like to stress that the benefits of Omega-3 oils do not mean taking an Omega-3 supplement. If you have an excellent diet of whole, fresh foods, and consume very few processed foods, you will have your Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils in the proper ratio. For those of you that don’t, we will give you a suggestion of what foods are the highest sources of these important oils.
Flax Seeds: Sprinkle these on salads, vegetables, and in your smoothies. They have a subtle nutty taste. But don’t overdo it! These seeds are high in calories. But if you are using them in your diet for their beneficial qualities, then you don’t need to be concerned.
Flaxseed oil can be found in the refrigerated section of any good health food store.
Walnuts: Walnuts are also high in Omega-3 oils. The beneficial qualities of Omega-3 oils include a reduction in heart disease risk, a benefit for those with arthritis, and even benefits for those fighting chemotherapy addiction.
You can cook with both of these by slicing and sprinkling them on your foods, or you can find them in the freezer section of most grocery stores.
Cod liver oil is the most concentrated source of Omega-3 oils. However, they are very concentrated sources, containing many calories, so use them with some caution.
Strengthening Your Hydrates
It is very important to not just rely on simple sugars and refined high-glycemic carbohydrates to fuel your body. You need complex carbohydrates in your diet, particularly from high-quality complex starches found in fresh, whole foods.
Look carefully at the labels of packaged foods, and be aware that many foods that claim to be “whole grain” often are not. They are highly processed foods having been stripped of their fiber and most of their nutrients, and then re-battered to make them taste better.
Cereals and grains that are based on wheat, rice, oats, and other grains are highly processed and have lost most of their nutrients along with those of their natural constituents. They are also cooked too quickly, which destroys the nutrients while also speeding up the confinement of their carbohydrates.