Fatty Acid Balance
Fatty Acid Balance
You need omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids every day to stay healthy. Omega fatty acids work only optimally if they are present in the right proportion in your body.
Omega-3 and omega-6 are both essential fatty acids. This means that the body cannot make them themselves and that we have to get them from food. With a varied diet, the body itself can produce sufficient omega-9.
The most important essential fatty acids are two families of fats: the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids include a lot in oily fish, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, hemp seed and walnuts. The omega-6 fatty acids are mainly found in vegetable fats, margarines and ready-to-eat products. There is also an omega-9 and it is mainly in olive oil.
Omega-3 helps omega-6. Omega-3 sends omega-6 in the right direction, so that it supports important processes in the body.
There is a lot of scientific research showing that with an imbalanced balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids your cells no longer function properly, causing inflammation in your body.
The inflammations that arise are the so-called low-grade inflammations. You do not feel it like a 'real' inflammation (ie without the noticeable signs of pain, swelling, heat and such), but they are always dormant. This is measurable in the blood as an increased value of the CRP (C-Reactive Protein). This continuous, mild degree of inflammation is continuously involved in damaging tissues: blood vessels, muscles, joints, organs ... Due to this, in the long run most modern complaints/diseases arise, which can only be treated with regular medicine: the so-called 'chronic disorders' or 'prosperity diseases'.
Because our diet has changed enormously over the past decades, we now get a lot more omega-6 fats than before and hardly anyone in the 'western' world has a good omega-6: omega-3 balance. Ideally, that ratio is 1: 1. Nowadays the ratio 5: 1 is considered reasonably acceptable. In the western world, however, almost everyone is above 15: 1. Low-grade inflammation then the result!
The modern Western diet contains many of the essential (unsaturated!) Fatty acids omega-6 and little omega-3. The advice of the feeding center that unsaturated fat is ok and wrong saturated fat, is a little blunt? not nuanced. It is important that the ratio between unsaturated and saturated fatty acids is in balance! Beside this fact, it is also important that the ratio between the unsaturated fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3 is in balance !!!
In an average western diet this is often 20: 1 instead of a maximum of 5: 1 or preferably ideal 1: 1 !!!
In order to reduce the low-grade inflammation, it is of great importance that less (preferably no) ready-to-use products are consumed. Baking/cooking is best in saturated fat, and not in margarine, because that contains too much omega-6. As a result of heating, unsaturated fats will oxidize more quickly (becoming rancid). Coconut oil, butter or ghee is ideal for baking/cooking.
A good balance between omega-3 and omega-6 is created by regularly eating oily fish, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts. Omega-9 fatty acids also help in getting a favorable ratio. In addition, omega-9 fatty acids have a positive influence on a healthy cholesterol level in the blood. Omega-9 are found in avocados and olive oil (the latter only cold and 'extra vierge' in a dark bottle to prevent the oxidation processes).
But, unfortunately, no matter how healthy you eat: almost no one succeeds in realizing a good fatty acid balance. We know exactly one person who achieves a good balance through food and he eats extremely healthy and consumes fatty fish 7 times a week...
Most people do not feel that much for eating that much fish and so taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement in addition to healthy eating is highly desirable, if not necessary for sustainable health. As a result, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats can be reduced to a ratio of a maximum of 5: 1 or even lower, and many of the harmful effects of omega-6 fatty acids can be reversed or prevented.