There are many types of omega fatty acids, but the omegas that we are most concerned about are omega-3s and omega-6s. Both of these omega fatty acids are essential fatty acids, which means our body needs them, but it cannot make them by itself.
Why are these fatty acids so essential? Let’s take a look:
- Omega-3 – These are most known for their anti-inflammatory benefits, helping prevent heart disease, and lowering blood pressure.
- Omega-6 – Essential for provoking healthy inflammatory responses. They are also known for lowering blood cholesterol and supporting healthy skin.
Altogether, essential fatty acids help with:
- Transporting oxygen in our bloodstream
- Promoting cardiovascular health
- Promoting development in the brain
- Keeping saturated fats mobile
- Anti-inflammatory (But too many Omega-6’s can cause inflammation)
- Reducing blood pressure
- Maintaining fluidity in cell membranes
- Maintaining proper kidney functions
- Preventing blood cells from clotting
Unfortunately, health issues can arise when omega-3s and omega-6s aren’t consumed in the right ratio. For example, the westernized diet is dominated by omega-6 oils to the point where the typical Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio is between 20:1 and 40:1.
The ideal ratio? Anywhere between 1:1 and 4:1. This rapid change in our omega-6 consumption is so severe that it has been causing excess inflammation and oxidation in our bodies, which contributes to a number of diseases including heart disease.
To find out how to improve your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, check out our article on essential fatty acids.