Column: Balance your omegas for a healthier you

Commentary by Cory Black

Omega fatty acids are essential for our health and support everything from healthy joints to brain function and a happy mood. Both Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s are considered essential and must be obtained from our diets, as our bodies cannot produce them.

Besides supporting smooth skin and healthy joints, Omega 3’s are especially important for heart health and fighting heart disease. They even have the benefit of cancer prevention, such as breast cancer, as they moderate inflammation and inflammation and cancer have been found to go hand in hand.

But did you know that too many Omega 6 fatty acids we start canceling out the benefit of Omega 3’s? A healthy ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is around 4 to 1, but our western diets our often in the range of 20 or even 30 to 1. What are some of the reasons many of our diets are skewed?

One reason is the abundant use of corn in feed for beef and poultry. Unfortunately, what the cow eats is what it passes on and corn has omega ratios as high as 50 to 1. Our diets often include fried and processed food that uses corn oil, safflower oil, non-trans fat margarines. All of these sources raise the ratio of Omega 6’s in our diet and should be limited.

It’s why it’s worth it to switch to grass fed meats, where the livestock gets a more natural food source.  Incorporate more cold water fish such as salmon, which has almost a perfect balance of essential fatty acids.

Make sure we have a daily source of essential fatty acids, which we can get in high amounts from cold water fish or a fish oil supplement. But make sure your diet is not canceling out all of the great benefits.