Friday, June 25, 2010

A Fatty Flaw

If you haven't heard that omega-3 fatty acids are healthy to consume, you might have spent all of your life living under a rock.  It is likely that someone has told you consuming fish (such as salmon), fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil, and/or red meat (especially grass fed) is healthy because of the rich omega-3 content.

So what's the deal?  What do you gain from consuming omega-3 fatty acids?  They can:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve insulin sensitivity (and therefore decrease blood sugar)
  • Increase HDL total
  • Decrease overall possibility of heart disease
  • Decrease cardiovascular inflammation
  • Improve mood
  • Aid fertility and help development of fetus to a healthy size
  • Improve neurological function in general, including memory and ability to learn
They all sound great, right?  Here's the problem: Omega-6 fatty acids are the counterparts to omega-3.  We're supposed to eat an equal amount of omega-3 (found in fish and animals) and omega-6 fatty acids (vegetable fats).  However, since we've been told to stay away from saturated fats, we're not anywhere close to even.  Professionals state that the average person's ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is as poor as 14:1 (according to Dr. Michael Eades) or 20:1 (Real Food author Nina Planck)!  It's not as if omega-3s are inherently good and omega-6s are inherently's that we've created such a problem through imbalanced eating that we now need more omega-3s to get back to what should be normal!

Here's the solution:
  1. Eat more meat (grass-fed when possible), fish, eggs, coconut oil, and butter (especially from grass-fed cows).
  2. Avoid using or eating foods that contain margarine, vegetable shortening, or any of these oils: vegetable, corn, safflower, soybean, sunflower, and canola.

No comments: