This week's What's That?! Wednesday post focuses it attention to another very important macro-nutrient in the anti-inflammatory diet - fats! While there are many different types of fats that affect inflammation in many different ways, today we will just be focusing on two fats from the group knows as essential fatty acids or omega fatty acids. You may know these as Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.
The most important thing to understand first is the word "essential" - this means that your body cannot manufacture these fats on its own, so you have to make sure to eat foods that are good sources of omega fats – they are called essential fatty acids because they are essential to several of your body’s core systems including - immune, metabolic, cardiac, and neurological functions.
The second super important thing to understand is that you want a “healthy ratio” of the Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats but that BOTH are important and "essential" - however, there are some sources of Omega-6 fats you will want to avoid all together because they greatly contribute to increased chronic inflammation.
The healthy ratio you want to shoot for is 1:1 to 5:1 range. To give you a comparison current studies estimate that the average ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids in the typical U.S. diet is somewhere between 20:1 and 50:1.(*) HUGE discrepancy, right? So why is this important? Current research clearly shows that it is this skewed ratio that may be one of the biggest contributing factors to the rising number of autoimmune diseases like morbid obesity, diabetes, fibromyalgia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and more. (*)
Here is a breakdown to help you understand the different types of Omega fats, which ones to avoid completely as well as the healthiest food choices for managing your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio....
Jennifer and I are not big fans of any diet that omits a macro-nutrient and even though cutting back on fat intake is another popular way to cut calories and lose weight, in the long term metabolic imbalances will halt your weight loss progress. In fact too little fat overall increases cravings for carbs and sugar and makes the body think you are in “famine mode”- which signals your metabolism to increase fat storage. Not cool! Bottom line: You have to eat healthy fats if you want to lose your “unhealthy fat” and reduce your risk of inflammation driven diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and neurological diseases. We recommend 1 serving of healthy fats with EVERY meal. Check out some of our favorite recipes that include healthy Omega fats below...
If eating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet seems overwhelming to you, check out our Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plans that are loaded with simple recipes as well as weekly shopping lists and menus to make anti-inflammatory eating easy!
In good health,
~Billie & Jen
Rosemary-Walnut Chicken Wraps Herb & Hemp Stuffed Potatoes Seasonal Veggie & Quinoa Frittatas
*Greenmedinfo.com - http://www.greenmedinfo.com/substance/omega-3-fatty-acids
*Natural Neuroscience -http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v11/n11/abs/nn.2213.html
*WholeHealthResource - http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/09/pracical-approach-to-omega-fats.html
*Biomedicine and Pharacotherapy -http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909
Billie Shellist, FDN-P
I practice functional nutrition, an approach that allows me to look at your entire health history and help you find the "root causes" of your chronic health complaints.
This cuts out the trial and error process and helps you get real symptom relief and resolution!
Food is medicine and knowledge is power -I hope you enjoy my anti-inflammatory recipes which are gluten, dairy, and soy free as well as very low grain and sugar.
If you'd like to heal from the root cause(s) of your chronic symptoms, try starting with a complimentary 15-minute consultation. Click here to request your free session.