Essential Fatty Acids are extremely important. We need both Omega-6s and Omega-3s. We should be aiming for a 4:1 balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3, but the typical modern-day diet is out of balance by about 20:1. You might start to wonder, how has this happened? Our food supply is packed with Omega-6s, and not the kind our bodies need. It doesn’t take a lot of detective work to see Omega-6s are everywhere, from processed foods like cookies and chips to salad dressings and fried foods.
We don’t want to write off Omega-6s altogether, because we do need them. The key here is to consider the source. Our bodies treat all Omega-6s the same, but that doesn’t mean we should. There are a wide variety of options for getting Omega-6s, both good and bad. This graphic is helpful in understanding what sources of Omega-6s we should be consuming. We should always try to consume whole food sources of Omega-6s because they come with other nutritional benefits, unlike the options in the bad column that are often filled with unwanted artificial ingredients.
When looking to reduce your Omega-6 intake, it’s important to look at what oils you cook with and those that are in your processed foods. Vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower are some of the most highly concentrated sources of Omega-6s. The graph below provides an inside look at quantities of Omega-6s in different types of oils. The key takeaway? Cook with oils that have lesser amounts of Omega-6 like avocado and olive oil and use the other oils sparingly.
Next time you head to the grocery store, bring a list of the good Omega-6s and try a few of these options and take out a few of the bad Omega-6 items.