The food that you put into your body has an enormous impact on your overall health and wellness. The old adage “You are what you eat” offers vast wisdom in its simplicity. It may be easy to add fruits and vegetables into your diet, but other nutritional principles require a bit more explanation. Eating the right ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, for example, is essential to minimize inflammation, support vital body functions, and prevent chronic disease.
While both types of omega fatty acids are necessary for the body’s survival, they should exist in a ratio to one another. It is better to have more omega-3 fatty acids and fewer omega-6 fatty acids, since the latter has an inflammatory effect on the body. Ideally, you should eat just enough omega-6s to ensure all body functions are supported, then balance them out with plenty of omega-3s to reduce inflammation.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The Body’s Best Friend
Omega-3 fatty acids exist in three common forms: EPA, DHA, and ALA. All three forms are vital for the body’s health, but DHA is the most desirable and powerful type. While EPA and DHA can be obtained through animal sources like salmon, ALA is derived from plant sources and then partially converted into DHA in the body. Overall, omega-3 fatty acids offer a wealth of benefits to the body. They reduce the risk of heart disease, alleviate anxiety and depression, improve cognitive function, minimize rheumatoid arthritis pain, and reduce the severity of symptoms associated with diabetes.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Eat With Caution
Omega-6 fatty acids do support brain function, muscle growth, and hormone production, but they also generate inflammation in the body. Since vegetable oils rich in omega-6 fats are used in so many of the processed foods on store shelves, most people eat far more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, and this stimulates excessive inflammation in the body. Nutritional experts believe this omega imbalance is the root cause of many chronic conditions like coronary heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and autoimmunity diseases.
While the relationship between omega-3 and omega-6 is complex, the bottom line is simple: eat more omega-3 fatty acids from animal sources, and cut down on processed foods to avoid unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids. You will be amazed how your body can transform when that inflammation is eliminated! For more help and support evaluating and adjusting your eating habits, call (941) 584-8487 to start working with London Wellness, Sarasota’s premier nutrition, fitness, and wellness practice.