Thursday, September 23, 2010

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Verses Omega 6 Fatty Acids

This is a subject that Leroy touched on a bit in his last Experiment Update.  A simple thing to know regarding this subject is that too much omega 6 fatty acids in the diet causes chronic multi-systemic inflammation.  While omega 3 fatty acids actually reduce inflammation.  Today's Standard American Diet (SAD) has a ratio of about 20:1 in favor of omega 6 fatty acids.

The overabundance of omega 6 in the diet is causing chronic, low-grade inflammation for many people.  This usually undetected inflammation is showing to be an underlying cause to many degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes, obesity, and cancer just to name a few.  Inflammation is our immune system's way of reacting to a foreign substance or an injury.  If this reaction by our immune system persists for no reason, it begins to attack our own cells and cause problems in the form of the previously mentioned degenerative diseases.

Archaeological evidence shows that our primitive ancestors did not have problems with the degenerative diseases that billions struggle with today.  They had an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio closer to 1:1.  I am sure you are sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what foods have omega 6 or omega 3.  Well here is a site that list foods that are highest in omega 6.  What you will notice is seeds, seed oils, and animals that are fed those seeds are high in omega 6.  These were food stuffs that  cavemen did not eat.

Here is a site that lists foods high in inflammation lowering omega 3.  Not on this list are the unconventionally raised, grass fed animals and pastured chicken eggs which are also high in omega 3 fatty acids.  What you will notice on that list is a lot of fish which were very much eaten by cavemen.  This is the reason why fish oil is often recommended as a daily supplement.  It helps to cool the inflammation that diet can cause. 

Now remember that inflammation is an immune response.  Chronic low-level inflammation means that your immune system is constantly being taxed.  This puts our bodies at greater risk when any actual bacterial or viral threat comes along.  The immune system is not at full strength to put all it's efforts into winning that single battle because some of it's resources are off fighting false battles throughout the body.

There is a constant fear of invisible germs and the thought that they are gonna get us thus making us sick.  People slather only slightly effective antibacterial gels all over themselves several times a day.  There is always a mad rush for the seasonal flu shot but are those effective?  Why don't the concerned people stop to think if they are doing everything they can to assure their immune system is as strong  possible?  This is another case, where eating what the body wants will give the greatest short term and long term benefit.  Eat fish, supplement with a good fish oil; cook with butter, lard, or olive oil, and avoid consuming the following; corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, margarine, and vegetable shortening.  You will have much greater success avoiding sickness by bolstering your immune system than by trying to protect yourself from airborne microscopic germs.  Or maybe just get yourself a nice, big bubble to live in.   CP

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