Most of us are getting FAR too much Omega 6 in our diet and not enough Omega 3. This drives systemic inflammation in our bodies which is associated with almost every disease.
Essential fatty acids are critical for our cardiovascular systems, brains, skin, hormones, immune and joints to be operating optimally.
Omega 6 is also essential, we are just getting too much of it, and often not getting much of the anti-inflammatory Omega 6 GLA.
Essential fatty acids ARE essential- we just have to work out what the best source is for us.
So what are the dietary source choices for Omegas?
1) Hemp Seeds
Pros: Hemp seeds contain a small amount of the Omega 3 SDA which converts more readily to the longer chain Omegas than the short chain Omega 3 ALA found in flax, walnuts, or dark green leafies. They are also a nutritious food that contain protein (though you’d be taking in a huge amount of calories to reach your daily requirement using them) as well as minerals like iron or zinc.
Cons: Even though hemp seeds DO contain omega 3, they actually contain approximately 3 times more Omega 6 to Omega 3. Whilst this overall for the diet is not a terrible ratio, it does not help counterbalance the huge amount of Omega 6 most people are already consuming.
2) Flax seeds
Pros: Flax seeds have a really great Omega 3:6 ratio, they are also a valuable food with protective qualities against breast cancer and high blood pressure.
Cons: It can be a bit inconvenient to use the seeds- you need to freshly grind the seeds yourself, not buy them pre-ground from the supermarket. You’ll need about 2 tablespoons to give you an adequate dose and they’re not necessarily the most appetising taste.
Whilst you can buy flax oil and it will give you Omega 3, it does not offer the same other health benefits of the seeds. They also don’t contain SDA which converts much better to the critical Long Chain Omega 3s. Most people aren’t great converters of the short chain omegas found in flax to the longer metabolites, though factors including being a non-fish eater, female, or those eating low quantities of Omega 6 do improve the conversion.
Pros: A wonderful food- nuts when eaten in moderate amounts are very conducive to good health and should definitely be included in the diet. A small palmful a day, favouring walnuts but including one or two Brazil nuts for selenium too is a good way to go.
Cons: Touted as an omega 3 food, like hemp, they still have much more Omega 6 than Omega 3. Omega 6 and Omega 3 actually compete against each other to convert to their longer chain metabolites, so it’s really important that we favouring Omega sources that have more Omega 3 than 6.
4) Dark green leafies:
Pros: All hail kale! A veritable power food, please eat LOTS of these!!! They have a wonderful Omega 3:6 ratio and give the best nutrient to calorie bang for your buck of any food group.
Cons: Don’t eat too much spinach due to the oxalate content which can create kidney stones! They don’t contain SDA so depending on the same factors as with flax, these omega 3s may not convert too well to longer metabolites You also need to eat a lot of these foods to get adequate omegas from them- FAR more than most people are eating.
Pros: Fish contain EPA and DHA which are the long chain omegas we discussed earlier.
Cons: Fish often contain environmental contaminants such as mercury, PCBS, dioxins and even micro plastics. Overfishing is an environmental catastrophe and some scientists are predicting empty oceans by 2048. Every second breath we breathe is generated by the ocean- if the oceans die, we die. We have a responsibility as stewards of this earth to do something about this. Fish farming is also largely unsustainable- with these fish actually requiring more fish (in terms of feed) than they produce.
Pros: Eggs are a vegetarian protein source
Cons: They are a high source of saturated fat, dietary cholesterol and typically contain far more Omega 6 than 3, including amount or Arachidonic Acid which is a highly inflammatory Omega 6.
I really encourage you to eat more flax, hemp, walnuts and dark green leafies in your diet. However, the easiest and most effective way to balance your omegas and give your body the best omega metabolites is through Ahiflower oil supplementation.
Ahiflower contains 10x more SDA than hemp, has approximately 4 times more Omega 3 than Omega 6, and converts up to 4x better than flax seeds to the longer chain Omega 3 EPA. Essentially it provides the beneficial metabolites of flax, hemp, evening primrose oil, and fish/algae all-in-one but without any environmental contaminants. It provides the widest range of valuable omega metabolites, in the best balance.
Essential fatty acids are essential, but destroying the planet for them is NOT. Ahiflower is also ultra-sustainable and regeneratively grown. One acre of Ahiflower provides as much omega-3 rich oil as 500,000 anchovies. The amount of land required to provide our human omega needs is just 480,000 acres (for comparison, US soybean acres in 2018 = 90million), each year, whilst providing valuable on-farm biodiversity for bees and butterflies.
Head over www.AhiflowerAustralia.com.au to learn more!