By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.
Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are both essential fatty acids meaning we have to obtain them from our diet. Both are polyunsaturated fat but differ in their chemical structure. Omega-6s are found in seeds and nuts and oil extracted from them. These oils like soybean oil are used in snack foods, cookies, and fast food. Omega-3s are found in cold water fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel and in walnuts and flaxseeds. The healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is a 2:1 ratio which is best to prevent inflammation in our body, however, the current ratio is about 4:1. Inflammation in our body increases risk of heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases. Too many omega-6s can increase inflammation. Omega-3s tend to decrease inflammation. You can alter this ratio by eating less processed foods and more extra virgin olive oil, oily fish, walnuts and ground flax seeds.
Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition. The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers. Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition, www.DayByDayNutrition.com, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues. Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, www.KentuckianaHEALTHWellness.com. Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for www.LiveStrong.com as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.