Omega 3 fats are healthy. Not Omega 6. Why?

The health benefits of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids are relatively well-known now, but what is less well known is that there are other essential fatty acids as well. One of these fatty acids is called Omega 6.

Whilst the principal, but not the only source of Omega 3 fats is seafood, the source of the Omega 6 fats is different.

As we said, fish is not the only source of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids. In the past beef, for example, was also a good source of the Omega 3 fats. We don’t intend to canvas everything to do with the level of Omega 3 essential fatty acids found in modern day beef, we’ve already done that in our article about Omega 3 in beef.

But to recap briefly, grass fed cattle are much higher in Omega 3 essential fatty acids because of the Omega 3 fats found in the grass. Grain fed cattle, which are the source of most of our beef, have very little if any of the essential fatty acids called Omega 3.

But what we didn’t explain in that article, because it wasn’t particularly relevant to that topic, was the Omega 6 found in beef.

Because if you’re eating beef tonight many of the nutrients in that beef come from what the animal ate. And now, as a result of modern feeding practices, beef is very high in Omega 6.

100 years ago, it is estimated, our Omega 3 Omega 6 ratio was about 1 to 1, in other words we ate as much Omega 3 as Omega 6. Estimates vary widely now, but we’ve seen some estimates that our ratio is as high as 1 to 20 or even more.

That’s because some foods which have made their way into our diet, and which we now eat a lot of, are very high in Omega 6. Most of our cooking oils are included in that category for example. And processed foods are also loaded with Omega 6, often because they contain large amounts of oil, usually the cheaper variety.

Olive oil is not loaded with Omega 6, but is rarely found in many foods.Omega 6 in salmon

And you can also get a relatively high intake from fish. Surprising as that might sound if you eat the wrong type of fish you are getting lots of Omega 6. And what is the wrong type of fish? Farmed salmon, which is the salmon that almost all of us eat. We rarely eat the wild variety, which is much healthier.

As our Omega 3 Omega 6 ratio has changed over the last century the incidence of lifestyle diseases has risen, though the changing ratio may not explain this. However many researchers now consider that our lower level of Omega 3 intake, and our higher level of Omega 6 intake, may well explain some of the problems we are finding with our health.

Whilst the Omega 3 fats are very effective at fighting inflammation in the body the Omega 6 fats have the opposite effect, and can lead to increased inflammation. Many health professionals now consider that it is extremely likely that chronic inflammation in our body triggers or contributes to many lifestyle diseases.

The old saying is probably very accurate, you are what you eat. There is solid evidence about the health benefits of increasing your intake of the Omega 3 fats, the best way by taking quality Omega3 supplements, but there is also growing evidence that our increasing intake of Omega 6 fats should be halted.

Or just about everyone this will require some serious thinking about what you eat.

But follow some basic principles, and you’re on your way. Avoid fast foods, avoid too many processed foods, cook with original ingredients, keep your intake of fruit and vegetables high and cook with olive oil, and you’ll be on your way.

And don’t forget to take your Omega 3 capsules as well.

Written by - Omega 3 Fish Oil