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Omega 3s and Omega 6s: What’s the Difference?

Time and time again, we’ve heard about the importance of omega 3s (Omega 3 fatty acids) in our diet. Yet, the vast majority of Americans lack sufficient amounts, even though these polyunsaturated fats are crucial to several bodily functions. That’s because, in American cuisine, our fatty acids are often unbalanced, coming in too low with omega 3s and too high with omega-6s. The result of such a diet is internal inflammation, along with a slew of other equally dangerous health conditions. To avoid this dilemma, let’s examine these vital fatty acids, and find out how to incorporate more of them into our meals.

Not All Fats Are Evil: Understanding Polyunsaturated Fats

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are both types of polyunsaturated fats. Classified as “essential” fatty acids, they’re vital for human development and health. However, they are not naturally produced by your body, so they must be acquired through food or supplement intake.

A healthy meal plan requires a balance of omega-3s and omega-6s. But, since American diets are generally high in red meat and vegetable oils, most individuals take in 14-25 times less omega-3s than omega-6s!  This imbalance increases inflammation and contributes to many chronic health conditions, including cancer and heart disease.

The Health Advantages Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Throughout the body, omega-3 fats play an indispensable role in many functions. These fatty acids:

  • Reduce inflammation throughout the body
  • Reduce the possibility of bone loss and osteoporosis
  • Lessen the severity of symptoms linked to diabetes
  • May reduce the likelihood of chronic diseases, like arthritis, cancer, and heart disease
  • Are necessary for development and cell growth
  • Promote healthy brain function, including cognitive performance and memory

Symptoms of low omega-3 levels include poor circulation, depression, mood swings, heart problems, dry skin, memory problems, and fatigue.

The Health Advantages Of Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-6s, like omega-3s, play a crucial role in development, growth, and brain function. These fatty acids:

  • Help reduce nerve pain
  • Help maintain bone health
  • Regulate metabolism
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease
  • Stimulate skin and hair growth
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Fight inflammation

Many physiological complications can occur from a dietary lack of omega 6s, which includes high cholesterol, arthritis, dry eyes, water loss, and eczema.

Balance Your Essential Fats With These Tips

Protect against disease and reduce inflammation in the body by keeping a balanced amount of essential fatty acids in your diet. Start with these tips to attain a healthy ratio of omega 3 and 6:

  • Eat other types of healthy fats, like avocados, coconut oil, and olive oil
  • Replace regular meat with grass-fed beef
  • Take an omega-3 supplement
  • Once or twice a week, eat fatty fish
  • Follow a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes healthy fats, olive oil, and fish
  • Avoid prepackaged foods, and eliminate products made with sunflower, corn, or soybean oil

Embrace The Benefits Of Fatty Acids

Don’t fear these fatty acids, merely because they’re called “fatty.” Instead, embrace them! They’re good for you! As long as you balance your omega 3s and 6s, these acids can help steer you towards a healthier body!

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Dr. Candice Seti


California-licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer

Dr. Candice Seti

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