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Omega-3 vs Omega-6

Omega-6 fatty acids, also considered essential, are found in foods such as eggs, poultry, cereals, vegetable oils, baked goods, and margarine. They support skin health, lower cholesterol, and help make our blood "sticky" so it is able to clot. But when omega-6s aren't balanced with sufficient amounts of omega-3s, problems can ensue.

The trouble is that we as a society consume far too much omega-6 and not near enough omega-3. Many nutrition experts believe that before we relied so heavily on processed foods, humans consumed omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in roughly equal amounts. Healthy ratios of omega-6:omega-3 range from 1:1 to 4:1. But to our great detriment, most people living on a Western diet get far too much of the omega-6s and not enough of the omega-3s. Typical Western diets provide ratios of between 10:1 and 30:1 i.e., dramatically skewed toward omega-6.

This dietary imbalance may explain the rise of such diseases as asthma, coronary heart disease, many forms of cancer, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases, all of which are believed to stem from inflammation in the body. The imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may also contribute to obesity, depression, dyslexia, hyperactivity and even a tendency toward violence. Bringing the fats into proper proportion may actually relieve those conditions.

To balance this deficit, many physicians suggest omega-3 as a supplement to reduce the negative impact of omega-6s.


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