One of the things I believe are contributing to the epidemic of western diseases is overconsumption of polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids.
You may have heard that they are essential and actually healthy.
Well, they are essential because the body does need a small amount and can not produce them on its own. However, the amount you require is much, much, much less than what is common today.
The fact is, both Omega-3 (good) and Omega-6 (not so good) are required to maintain proper function of the body. However, they need to be consumed in a certain ratio for the body to function optimally.
Eating way too many Omega-6 fats compared to Omega-3 contributes to inflammation within the body, which has poor effects on health.
A key factor in a healthy diet should be to reduce Omega-6 fatty acids and maintain or increase Omega-3 consumption.
Here are some useful methods to reduce Omega-6 fats in the diet. If you are already eating a real-food based, healthy diet, then you’re probably already doing most of these.
Stay away from Industrial Seed Oils
This is the primary source of Omega-6 fats in the western diet. They are usually completely void of nutrients, and there is a good chance that some of the unstable fatty acids may have been damaged during the harsh processing methods.
These include most seed and vegetable oils, for example: soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil and sunflower oil.
Eat nuts and seeds in moderation
Nuts and seeds are definitely foods that human beings were exposed to throughout evolution, but that doesn’t mean they should be a staple of the diet. In my opinion, eating these in moderation (as snacks, not meals) is the key.
Some nuts are fairly low in Omega-6, such as Macadamia Nuts.
Choose meat that is low in Omega-6
Some meats are higher in Omega-6 than others, and this partly depends on what kind of food the animals ate. Grain-fed animals have a higher Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio, so it is preferable to eat grass-fed meat whenever possible.
Beef and lamb contain little Omega-6, while meats like chicken and pork contain more.
Let the fat melt off of high Omega-6 meats
Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-6, have a much lower melting point than saturated fats.
Therefore, when you cook a meat that contains Omega-6 (such as chicken or bacon), the polyunsaturated fats will melt quickly.
Whenever you cook bacon or chicken wings, simply allow the polyunsaturated fats to melt away to leave the healthy saturated fats there for you to eat.
Choose Omega-3 enriched eggs
Eggs from chickens that are allowed to eat their natural diet and roam free have a much more favourable Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio than conventional, supermarket eggs.
Therefore it is a good idea to buy these eggs whenever possible.
Eat plenty of Omega-3
Now that you’ve got your Omega-6 consumption down, it is time to replace some of it with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy and contribute to reduced inflammation compared to Omega-6 fats.
Eating Omega-3 enriched eggs and grass-fed meat, while eating fatty fish once a week or supplementing with fish oil, should cover all your needs for Omega-3.