Optimal Level Of Omega-6 To Omega-3
The western diet contains between 10 and 25 times the optimal level of omega-6. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 is neutral.
- A diet with a lot of omega-6 and not much omega-3 will increase inflammation.
- A diet of a lot of omega-3 and not much omega-6 will reduce inflammation.
The more omega-3 fat you eat, the less omega-6 will be available to the tissues to produce inflammation.
The negative effects of too much omega-6 fat include nearly all diseases; obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, bowel disease, macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, cancer, psychiatric disorders and autoimmune diseases.
Elevated Omega-6 Foods
Oils high in omega-6’s, are in nearly all processed and packaged foods, as well as most restaurant foods because they are cheap. If your diet consists of packaged foods and a few meals out a week, you are significantly exceeding the recommended intake of omega-6.
Omega-3 Rich Oils
Rich omega-3 foods are found in fish; salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout. As well as sea algae, flax seeds/oil walnuts and chia seeds.
Begin by limiting saturated fats from the bottom of the chart. Notice the oils high in omega-6 oils. Focus on the rich omega-3 oils like flax seed oil.
Avoid the oils with no omega-3’s: safflower, sunflower, sesame, peanut, cottonseed, cocoa butter, palm kernel and coconut.
Reduce Omega-6 Reduce Inflammation
Nuts have a potential to provide too much omega-6 fatty acids. Two exceptions to this rule are walnuts with an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 4.2 and butternuts with an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 3.9. Incorporating nut and seed milks while making sweet nut treats will likely trigger inflammation in the body.
Achieve a balance omega-6 to omega-3 ratio by:
- Limiting omega-6 as much as possible, less than 2% of calories.
- Moderately increase omega-3 of DHA and EPA can be obtained by eating a 4 oz. portion of salmon twice a week.
Limit consumption of the top sources of omega-6 fatty acids: peanut and other nut butters, chips and buttered popcorn, takeout and packaged foods, fried, battered chicken or fish, margarine and vegetable shortening, chicken skin, salad dressings and vegetable oils. Best choices are olive, macadamia nut and flaxseed oil.
Inflammation In The Body
Over-the-counter and prescription NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin, Celebrex, etc.) work by reducing the formation of inflammatory compounds derived from omega-6 fatty acids. The same effect could be achieved by simply limiting dietary intake of omega-6.