Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids.
Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids.
What makes these things so “essential”? The fact that our bodies don’t make these fatty acids, makes it necessary to get them from our diets. They are important part of building healthy cells, maintaining brain and nerve function and a precursor to certain hormones.
Certain types of fatty acids are called Omega-3, such as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are found in fish oils. Others are called Omega-6, such as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and are found from plant sources such as nuts and seeds. The average North American diet has an Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of 12:1. The ideal ratio should be around 4:1. Scientists estimate our ancestors consumed Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats in a ratio of close to 1:1. As vegetable oil consumption and processed grain consumption have risen, so has the ratio of n-6 to n-3 fats. This creates a very inflammatory environment and goes a long way towards explaining why 4 in 10 people who die in North America each year die of heart disease. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 matters, but so does the total amount of each. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 is neutral. What this means is that the more omega-3 fat you eat, the less omega-6 will be available to the tissues to produce inflammation. A diet with a lot of omega-6 and not much omega-3 will increase inflammation. Conversely, a diet of a lot of omega-3 and not much omega-6 will reduce inflammation.Omega 6 oils are unstable because they’re made of polyunsaturated fats. Cooking at high heats, microwaving, or frying will oxidize the fats. Oxidized omega 6 does damage to your DNA, inflames your heart, and raises your risk for several types of cancer, including breast cancer. It also interferes with brain metabolism. When companies use these oils in packaged foods, they stabilize them to increase shelf life through a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation takes already harmful fats and converts them into synthetic trans fat. Unfortunately, trans fat is even worse for you.
Elevated Omega-6 intake is associated with an increase in all inflammatory diseases! The list includes (but isn’t limited to):
· cardiovascular disease
· type 2 diabetes
· metabolic syndrome
· irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease
· macular degeneration
· rheumatoid arthritis
· psychiatric disorders
· autoimmune diseases
Try to eat foods high in Omega -3’s and take supplemental forms of Omega-3 from quality sources, especially when pregnant or nursing. Some other steps that can help this ratio and overall health:
1. Avoid Vegetable Oils and Products Containing Them– These oils mess up the balance of protective Omega-3 fatty acids and potentially dangerous Omega-6 fatty acids in the body. They also contribute to inflammation and arterial damage.
2. Eat more Saturated Fats and Other Healthy Fats– getting enough saturated fat from sources like animal fats, coconut oil, organic dairy, etc is essential to give the body all the building blocks it needs for proper cell and hormone function.
3. Optimize Vitamin D and Fat Soluble Vitamins- Fat soluble vitamins in proper amounts in the body have a protective effect on tissues and organs (including the heart).
4. Get Enough Omega-3s- These help balance out the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio in the body and prevent inflammation. Omega-3s also can thin the blood and keep it from clotting too regularly, a risk factor in heart disease. Having a proper Omega-3 balance also helps keep triglyceride levels in check.
5. Exercise– You’ve heard this one before, yet most of us don’t get enough exercise. Exercise helps strengthen the heart and tone muscles. It increases circulation and reduces stress hormones- all good things to help reduce your risk of heart disease.
6. Reduce Stress and Get Enough Sleep– High stress levels and lack of sleep can both increase inflammation and stress hormones in the body. Both are also linked to higher levels of many diseases, including heart disease, and increased overall mortality
At Family First Chiropractic we have pharmaceutical grade supplements including essential fatty acids for adults and children. Come in and check out our great selection.
Dr. Stephen Kelly D.C.
Dr. Kelly practices at Family First Chiropractic located at 142 Erickson drive in Red Deer. Call us today to book an appointment (403)347-3261www.family1stchiro.ca