There are basically three omega fatty acids that are needed for health. Omega 3, 6 and 9.
Omega 9 is a non essential omega fatty acid, which means your body can produce its own, so our discussion here focuses on omega 3 and 6.
There is a huge difference between how the body needs these two omegas.
The Omega 3 fatty acids are required by those animals, and so people, who have a super high metabolic rate, such as hummingbirds. The omega 6 fatty acids are required by those animals who need to gain weight before they hibernate. They need to have a high body weight to survive the winter without food.
Omega 3 is the most unstable of the omega fatty acids. It is easily damaged, from cooking, exposure to natural light and the air. This makes the oil rancid (can take as little as 20 minutes) which diminishes the nutrition and produces free radicals. This makes storage difficult. So accessing the oil just before consumption is the most desirable way.
Omega 6 is more stable. It slows the metabolic rate down, ready for hibernation. It thickens the blood.
Excess amounts of omega 6 can lead to inflammation and a host of diseases, from cardiac problems to tumour metastases.
Omega 3 is the most important of the omega fatty acids. It helps to reduce inflammation, keeps your blood fluid which prevents excessive clotting and arterial thickening, keeps your body pH alkaline and so preventing all manner of disease, and helps to regulate body weight.
Because omega 3 is so unstable, it has been removed by the oil manufacturers, so that their oil has a long shelf life. Too bad about your deteriorating health.
A lack of omega 3 can lead to depression, cardiac problems, diabetes, inflammation, fatigue, lack of concentration, dry skin, brittle hair and nails, and much more.
The highest sources of omega 3 is sprouted flaxseed (linseed), sprouted chia seed, sprouted walnuts, salmon and some other fish, sprouted hemp seed and some dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, purslane, romaine, kale, arugula). Sprouting is simply soaking them overnight, which releases the enzyme inhibitor.
It is possible to consume excess omega 3. Seeds and nuts should be regulated, rather than eaten by the handful. Leafy greens should be varied regularly.
A biochemist studying the blood samples of a small group of Nigerians, found they had the highest omega 3 content of any group he had studied. Their diet was high in greens, had no heavy omega 6 oils and they ate little fish.
Coconut oil is the odd one out. A good source of omega 3, but also a stable one. It doesn’t oxidise easily. Because of its stability, it is the best oil to use for cooking.
Food sources have greater bioavailability than supplements. So greens will do you more good than a fish oil supplement.
Omega 6 is found in corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut and canola oils. These are generally consumed in higher concentrations than the omega 3. They are found in all fast and junk food, all processed and packaged food, because they keep so well.
It is considered that the ratio to omega 6 versus omega 3 fatty acid should be around 2:1, some say 1:1. Most people have a 10:1 or more ratio.
All the food sources of omega 3 also contain omega 6, so if you concentrate on food sources of omega 3, you will have the right balance.
You can buy a home test kit to check your levels, but if you follow the tips above, you will know they are good.
For more information of healthy food, check our sister website, Healthy Eating For Weight Loss.