Essential fatty acids are necessary for good health. They can’t be made in your body. You must get them from the foods you eat.
Fatty acids help your brain to function and they regulate your metabolism. They also help maintain your bone health.
Omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-6 fatty acids are two important groups of essential fatty acids.
To balance these two groups you should be getting one omega-3 fatty acids for every four omega-6 fatty acids.
Unfortunately the average North American diet contains 11 to 30 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids!
And this imbalance can lead to disease.
A study was recently conducted by Dr. Janice Kiecolt- Glaser and colleagues from Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus.
The researchers investigated the relationship between fatty acid levels and depression and inflammation. 43 older men and women participated in the study.
Six of those individuals had been diagnosed with major depression. It was found that all six had nearly 18 times as much omega-6 as omega-3 in their blood.
And these individuals also had higher blood levels of inflammation producing compounds. These compounds, reports Kiecolt-Glaser, are “all-purpose nasties for aging.” They have been tied to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and other diseases.
If you want to keep a healthy balance of omega-3’s and omega-6’s, here are some suggestions regarding diet.
To boost your omega-3 levels make sure you’re getting lots of these foods:
— flaxseeds (buy them ground and sprinkle them in soups, on toast, cereal, salads) — walnuts — salmon — sardines — soybeans (cooked) — halibut — shrimp — tofu (raw) — tuna — canola oil
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in:
— safflower oil — sunflower seeds/oil — corn oil — soybean oil — cereals and whole grain breads
Try keeping your intake of omega-3’s to omega-6’s in the ratio of 1:4 by eating lots of omega-3 foods. It might be a bit of a challenge! But stick with it and you should notice an improvement in your health and especially your mood.