Let’s talk about omega 6s and the effect they have on your health
You may have heard about omega 6s, but do you know much about them?
Well, like omega 3s
, they too are essential fatty acids. This means your body doesn’t make them, but it needs them! And you get them from your diet. More specifically, from plant oils like sunflower oil, soybean and corn oil and from animal fats too.
Omega 6s have three important functions in the body:
1. Cell growth:
Eating foods rich in Omega 6s starts a process that makes arachidonic acid (AA). It stimulates muscle and brain growth and that the reason manufacturers add it to baby formula.
It’s not only important for infants, it’s important for adults too. The reason athletes and body builders are able to develop such defined muscles is because of AA.
2. Immune response:
When omega 6s turn into linoleic acid, they become messengers of the PGE1 part of the immune system
. They’re hormone like messengers that mainly impact the brain. They have a role in depression
, mood disorders and other ailments that start in the brain.
Then there’s AA that’s part of the PGE2 inflammatory pathway. It causes the typical immune response where you develop pain
, swelling, thinning of the blood and changes in the size of your blood vessels.
You might not think this benefits the body, but it does!
If you didn’t have pain
and experience inflammation, you’d continue to do the things that harm your body. So this type of immune response protects you!
3. Nervous system:
The PGE1 response that influences the brain is an important part of how your brain transmits messages via nerves too.
As you can see, omega 6s are just as important as omega 3s. But the problemyou’re your heart comes in when you have too many.
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A complicated process involving omega 3 and 6 can cause inflammation or stop it
Omega 3s are typically anti-inflammatory or weak inflammatory nutrients. But omega 6s are strong inflammatory ones.
Despite inflammation being a necessary part of your body’s protective mechanisms, too much of a good thing is bad for you!
If your body can’t “switch off” inflammation, it becomes chronic. This is what leads to disease.
And as you probably know, inflammation plays a huge role in heart disease
. It leads to damage within the artery walls causing plaques to form to protect the wall from breaking. But over time, the plaque builds up and blocks normal blood flow. This leads to heart disease.
That’s why omega 3s are so essential for your heart!
When you eat the right amounts of omega 3s and 6s, omega 6s compete with omega 3s. When omega 6s “win”, there’s inflammation, but because of the omega 3s in your system, there’s also high levels of anti-inflammatory processes underway.
Now think about when you eat too many foods containing omega 6s and not enough omega 3s…
Omega 6 doesn’t have to compete anymore. There’s an easy flow of inflammation. And it doesn’t switch off!
So how do you end up with this happening in your body?
Eat a typical western diet and your omega 6 levels and heart disease risk skyrockets
Because you eat a lot of sunflower oil – whether it’s from cooking, or in butter and marg – and you eat a lot of red meat, you’re probably eating more than enough of your daily dose of omega 6s.
In fact, on a typical Western diet, you’re likely eating more than 25 times what you should be when it comes to omega 6s.
Couple that with a low omega 3 intake and it’s little wonder most of the Western world are dying from inflammatory conditions like heart disease!
So how can you lower your risk of heart disease?
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Even if you’ve already had a heart attack, Omega 3s can protect your heart!
According to Life Extension Magazine, a 1999 study showed that heart attack survivors who supplemented with Omega 3 each day reduced their risk of cardiovascular mortality by 30% and their risk of sudden death by 45%.
Here’s the science behind what Omegas can do for you…
Tip #1: Eat less omega 6-rich plant oils
Here are three tips to eating healthy and reducing your heart disease risk
It’s essential you eat less butter and marg on your bread to begin lowering your intake of omega 6s.
Also, avoid using sunflower oil to cook with, eat reduced oil dressings and mayonnaise and stop eating fried and fatty foods cooked in sunflower oil.
Tip #2: Eat less red meat
Instead of eating red meat every day of the week, alternate with fish and poultry.
Not only does this reduce your intake of omega 6s, eating fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring increases your omega 3 intake.
Tip #3: Add more omega 3 rich food to your diet
Eat avos, fatty fish, canola oil, sardines, flaxseed and soybeans – they’re rich in omega 3s.
Canola oil, soybeans and many other omega 3 rich foods contain omega 6s as well. That’s why it’s important to cut back on your overall intake of omega 6 because you’re probably getting your daily allowance without even trying!
As you can see, both omega 3 and 6 is important for your overall health. But what’s more important is getting the right amount of each so your body isn’t in a constant state of inflammation leaving you with serious illness like heart disease.