Are you deficient in THIS critical nutrient?
April 14, 2023

Are you deficient in THIS critical nutrient?

The importance of a balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids

Get the facts on fatty acids

In a world where fast food joints and ultra-processed snacks are the norm, it's no surprise that Americans are over-fed but undernourished. Specifically, we’re consuming too many inflammatory fats. Today, we’re digging into how to consume fewer of these oils and why we need a balanced ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin, joints, hormones, and more.

What are omega-6 fatty acids—and why do they get a bad rap?

Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. While it’s essential for human health, less is more. And unfortunately, the Standard American Diet tips the scale too far. We need omega-6 fatty acids for brain function, growth and development, and maintaining healthy skin. However, these shouldn’t be the only (and main) source of fat in your diet. When that’s the case, inflammation comes knocking at the door.

Omega-6 fats can lead to inflammation

These days, the typical Western diet is sky high in omega-6 fatty acids. You’ll find them in processed foods, vegetable oils, and grain-fed animal products. Ultimately, we need some inflammation (it’s a healer, after all!), but chronic inflammation is linked to a range of health problems: heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Therefore, the goal is to reduce the intake of omega-6s and increase the consumption of omega-3s, which have anti-inflammatory properties and are essential for overall health.

The power of omega-3 fatty acids

As women, we often hear about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, but did you know that incorporating omega-3 fatty acids can have a profound impact on your hormone health? Omega-3s, commonly found in fatty fish and certain nuts and seeds, play a critical role in the production and regulation of hormones. The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Why women need omega-3 fatty acids

From menstrual cycles to menopause, omega-3s can help balance hormones and reduce inflammation—providing a range of benefits for women of all ages. They’re your bestie for PMS symptoms, like bloating, cramps, and mood swings. Furthermore, they’re essential during pregnancy. Last but not least, they can minimize the risk of hot flashes and other unwanted symptoms of menopause. No matter your age, omega-3 fatty acids have a profound impact on your well-being.

10 foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids

So, how many omega-3 fatty acids should you consume? Mainstream health organizations recommend that healthy adults consume at least 250–500 mg of EPA and DHA per day. How can you reach that amount? Through diet and / or supplements. For example, you can meet that dosage by eating two servings of fatty fish per week. That said, omega-3 fats are also present in algae and several high-fat plant foods! Below are our go-to omega-3s:

  1. Mackerel
  2. Wild-caught salmon
  3. Cod liver oil
  4. Herring
  5. Oysters
  6. Sardines
  7. Flaxseeds
  8. Chia seeds
  9. Walnuts
  10. Dry roasted soybeans

Seed cycling is a convenient way to add omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats to your diet!

Consider an omega-3 supplement

If you don’t frequently consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, consider taking a supplement with EPA and DHA. We love Metagenics (extensively tested for contaminants), Nordic Naturals (wild-caught fish), and Thorne (very high quality). Always work with a practitioner before you start supplementing.

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 We love friends who seed cycle together!

We love friends who seed cycle together!