Fat is essential for our body to function properly. But fats are not all the same, we need to learn to differentiate them.
There are unsaturated and saturated fats. The latter are energy and can be found in food that includes fat meat, lard, whole milk such as butter and cream, coconuts, coconut oil, palm oil and bitter chocolate.
Unsaturated fats are omega-9, such as olive oil, which can help reduce the bad cholesterol levels in the blood, omega-6 and omega-3.
What are omega-3 fatty acids and where can we find them?
Omega-3 fatty acids are called “essential” fatty acids because our body cannot produce them by itself. So, they need to be ingested via food. This kind of fat is mainly present in fat fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.), in certain oils (chia, linseed, walnut oil) and in seeds such as chia, linseed and hemp.
Omega-3 fatty acids have many properties and play a crucial role in our health: they contribute to neurological and visual development. At the same time, they are an indispensable ally in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and protecting our immune system.
The human beings consume only around 30% of the daily recommended omega-3 quantity.
Where can we find omega-6 fatty acids?
Just like omega-3, omega-6 are so-called essential fatty acids because our body cannot produce them by themselves based on other fats we consume.
The omega-6 fatty acids are present in rich food such as meat, eggs, butter, cheese, walnuts or some oils (sunflower, hemp, grape seed, soy, corn, cotton). They are also largely present in many processed food products (sweet biscuits, fried potatoes, prepared dishes, etc.)
Omega-6 essential fats are involved in many human body functions such as reproduction, immune defense or brain development. But, like saturated fats, nowadays there are consumed in excess, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Our omega-6 consumption is particularly unbalanced as compared to our omega-3 consumption.
Omega-3 / omega-6 imbalance
In fact, omega-3 was eliminated from our diet due to the industrialization of food and animal food production which uses only oils rich in omega-6.
Our body needs a 1 to 1 balance between omega-6 and omega-3. Today the balance is approximately 30 to 1. This has generated what is called “modern chronic disease” (too much proinflammatory omega-6 and too little anti-inflammatory omega-3 in our tissues).
Modern chronic degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular, cerebral and retinal vascular diseases, brain and auto-immunity diseases, cancer, obesity, diabetes, bone loss, etc. have a strong inflammatory angle.
The best way to protect us against tissue inflammation and modern chronic diseases is to balance our food with more omega-3 in our diet in order to reach an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 1: 1.
Recommendations to obtain a proper fatty acids balance: