What are “Essential Fatty Acids”, and what makes them so “essential”??
👉 Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids need to come from our diets, as we do not have the enzymes to produce them ourselves. And if you do not get enough from your diet, you develop a deficiency and become sick. That is why they are termed "essential" fatty acids.
👉 Today, most people are eating a lot of Omega-6 fatty acids - found in most vegetable oils (soybean, sunflower, safflower, corn, and canola), as well as in many fried foods, cereals, and breads.
👉 At the same time, the consumption of animal foods that are high in Omega-3s is the lowest it has ever been.
👉 Appropriate ratios are key. Eating too much of Omega-6 fatty acids is a problem because they cancel out the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids when the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 is too high. The optimal ratio is 2:1 (Omega-6 to Omega-3), and not higher than 3:1. However, most people who eat the “standard American diet”, which contains high levels of Omega-6-rich vegetable oils, have an appalling ratio of 20-50:1!
👉 Think of Omega-6 as an accelerator—it hastens the creation of inflammation. Omega-3 is like the brake—it decreases inflammation. You need to be able to create inflammation, sometimes, in the right amounts and at the right times, such as when you are hurt or sick.
👉 However, if it goes too far and inflammation becomes chronic, it’s like having a slow-burning fire in your body that never goes out. It begins damaging the immune system, arteries, nerve cells, and organs.
In fact, chronic inflammation may be one of the leading drivers of the most serious modern diseases, including:
many types of cancer
Joint & muscle pain
Mental disorders like depression
Poor brain development in children/youth
You do not need much to satisfy your daily Omega-3 needs (see photos for ideas)….even just 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed is equal to your daily intake requirement!
📸 credit: @drjoshaxe