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Omega-3/Omega-6: It’s all about balance!

27 July, 2011

Omega-3 and Omega-6 are ‘essential’ fatty acids required by the human body for making substances that are vital to its proper functioning, but the body cannot produce them itself. Therefore it must get them from our diet.

It’s very important to maintain a right balance between these 2 types of fatty acids. Experts believe that the ideal Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio is between 1 and 5.

In 1945, Western food guaranteed this ratio. But today, the Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio is situated more between 10 and 30, i.e., too much Omega-6 is being consumed and not enough Omega-3. Modern food habits are the main reason for this imbalance, which is essentially explained by the fact that we are now eating a huge amount of cereals and meat from animals fed on cereals and vegetable oils that are rich in Omega-6 and poor in Omega-3.

Good sources of Omega-3 include oily fish, nuts, flax seeds and canola oil.

Once again, the good news is that you don’t have to worry because the SOS menus will make sure that the right Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio is maintained.

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Cinzia Cuneo

Cinzia Cuneo, founder of SOSCuisine.com, never wanted to neglect the quality of her food. She shares her special expertise to make good food quickly and without complications!

Cinzia Cuneo

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One Response to “Omega-3/Omega-6: It’s all about balance!”

July 28, 2011 at 12:30 am, Michael Muryn said:

Well some experts and fanatics (and you guessed, Dr. Mercola among them, but not limited to him) talk that we should strive to go near 1:1 ratio. Apparently that was what our ancestor was consuming and I guess the recommendation will go toward this eventually (just a matter of time). Actually I am doing fast search on Mercola and I see in one of his sale pitch for his organic beef that 0.16 to 1 ratio of omega 6:3 is “the ratio science suggest is ideal for our diet”. Hmmm. Anyway like you said, it is the ratio the important (even though some study said it did not change a thing… there is a study with conclusion for anything it seems…).

On Wikipedia they report info that contradict themself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid#The_n.E2.88.926_to_n.E2.88.923_ratio
And they also mention about the “healthy” omega-6:omega-3 ratio of 1:1 to 1:4 (yes, 4 more times omega-3).

People advocating that, will say that ratio suggesting/allowing more Omega-6 than Omega-3 are just adapting to what we are offered rather than what is the most optimal for us. But then we adapt, right? 😉

Also about Omega-3, there are three kinds that are apparently important in human physiology: ALA, EPA and DHA.

After reading, I concluded some years ago that the best strategy was to get them all in my diet (ALA from vegetable source like flax, chia etc. and EPA/DHA mostly from animal source like fish, fish oil or krill oil; Wikipedia also get a long list of source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid#Dietary_sources). My sources informed me that ALA can be converted to EPA/DHA by our body but not in enough quantity, so that was a point against consuming only vegetable source of Omega-3 (or I should rather say consuming only source of ALA as I don’t know all source of each of them).

But then there is also hype, and that is to me only “knowledge”, I should (we should) rather study how all this works to understand these numbers better. Not having enough time or motivation to understand everything, for now I will follow the recommendations. One day I will get mad and understand it. 😉

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