You often hear about Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, but do you know what they actually are? Well, they are both constituents of the healthy polyunsaturated fats (Monounsaturated fats are the other healthy kind as well). Generally, we want our fat diet to be split into thirds – 1/3 from monounsaturates, 1/3 from polyunsaturates and 1/3 from saturated fats.
With particular attention to the polyunsaturated fats, the balance between the omega-6 and omega-3 is extremely critical. Obtaining Omega-6 fats is no problem in this country as it’s found in many, many processed foods and vegetable oils. If you want to know if what you’re eating contains this just check the labels and read the ingredient list. Canola, palm, sunflower, palm oil, etc. are prime examples of Omega-6 laden fats.
While we need some of these, Americans typically consume way too much of it in relation to Omega-3 fats. Typically, Americans take a 16:1 Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. This is problematic because too much Omega-6 can increase your risk to arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Additionally, Omega-6 promotes inflammation, which is never good especially if there is an injury present.
Omega-3 fat intake is unfortunately scarce in the American diet. They are vital because they do the opposite of Omega-6 fats and reduce pain and inflammation. We want a 3:1 or 1:1 Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio, so how do we achieve that? Focus on foods that contain Omega-3 fats of course. Fatty fish such as salmon, cod, mackerel and tuna have great amounts of this fat as well as a variety of different nuts and seeds like flax, hemp and chia seeds. Soy, tofu and olive oil contain trace amounts of Omega-3 too. Fish oil, algae or flax seed oil supplementation is a fantastic way to help ensure you are taking in Omega-3s.
Polyunsaturated fats are necessary for our health, especially at the cellular level. Please do your best to acquire a healthy balance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats – it will help decrease risk of disease and improve injury recovery.
Justin Janoska just so happens to be a passionate fitness trainer certified by NASM, as well as a sports & exercise nutritionist, and would love to hear from you on Twitter & Facebook! Make sure you check out his website HERE… and if U wanna know more about Omegas OR anything else, U can always email us at Questions@FitPerez.com!!