Omega3 vs Omega6
Essential fatty acids must always be part of our daily diet – without them, our bodies will not function properly. Essential fatty acids are divided into two families: omega-6 EFAs and omega-3 EFAs.
Although there are only very slight differences to distinguish the two groups of essential fatty acids from each other, studies have revealed that too much intake of omega-6 EFAs can lead to inflammation, blood clotting and tumor growth. The good news is that the opposite is true for omega-3 EFAs.
Some medical research suggests that excessive levels of Omega 6 fatty acids, relative to Omega 3 fatty acids, may increase the probability of a number of diseases and depression. Some include heart disease, hypertension or high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, premature aging and certain kinds of cancer.
Modern Western diets typically have ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 in excess of 10 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1. The optimal ratio is thought to be 4 to 1 or lower. Omega-6 EFAs can be found in vegetable oils. The primary sources of omega-6 are corn, soy, canola, safflower and sunflower oils
Excess Omega-6 fats interfere with the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids in part because they compete for the same rate-limiting enzymes. Chronic excessive production of Omega 6 eicosanoids is associated with heart attacks, thrombotic stroke, arrhythmia, arthritis, osteoporosis, inflammation, mood disorders and cancer. Many of the medications used to treat and manage these conditions work by blocking the effects of the potent Omega-6 fat.
Omega-3 EFAs on the other hand can be found in oily fish, marine plankton, walnut, nut oils and flaxseed oils. Oily fish, such as fresh and canned salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel, herring, halibut and pilchards are some of the richest natural sources of omega-3 EPA and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help lower triglycerides and apoproteins (markers of diabetes), and raise HDL, so people with diabetes may benefit from eating foods or taking fish oil supplements that contain DHA and EPA.
It should be significant to take note that fatty fish and fish oils contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fatty acids that have been observed to provide many benefits to the human body. In the early 1970’s, a study on Greenland Eskimos have revealed that one of the major reasons why they rarely suffer from heart diseases is because of their high-fat diet (mainly composed of fish.
The two essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are also helpful in preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, depression and various forms of cancer. Fish oil supplemented food have also proven to be useful in treating illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Raynaud’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fats are an essential part of a healthy diet but need to be in a healthy balance.
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