Omega Fatty Acids (3-6-9) are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are needed in the proper ratios to maintain balance in the body, fight inflammation and build healthy cells 🙌🏻
It is important to note that like essential amino acids, these are essential fatty acids meaning that the body cannot make them on it’s own and is reliant on food to receive them.
I included some recipe suggestions to help incorporate this vital fats into your diet, they are at the end of the article 👩🏻🍳
Omega 3 fatty acids are famous for their anti-inflammatory properties and are abundant in fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, sardines and mackerel as well as grassfed meats like beef and bison and pastured eggs!
The most famous and most bioavailable omega 3 acids include DHA and EPA which are critical for proper brain function and development. A steady supply of omega 3s protects the brain from Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and mood disorders like depression and anxiety 🧠
Studies like the one cited below show that:
“The essential DHA is selectively enriched in neuronal tissues especially in neuronal and synaptic membranes, oligodendrocytes, and also subcellular particles such as myelin and nerve endings. With aging, and especially among patients with AD, DHA levels in the brain tend to decrease.”
“Studies in animal models of AD suggest that deficiency of DHA in neural tissue leads to behavioural deficits, ultimately leading to neurodegeneration and cognitive dysfunction similar to that in patients with AD. Furthermore, experimental evidence suggests that DHA decreases with age, particularly in regions of the hippocampus which are crucial for higher brain functions such as memory formation and cognition.”
A study from 2000 showed that omega 3 fatty acids from fish (namely DHA and EPA) are very beneficial in regards to cardiovascular health 🫀
“Habitual fish oil supplementation is associated with a 13% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 16% lower risk of CVD mortality, and a 7% lower risk of CVD events among the general population.
These findings indicate that habitual fish oil supplementation could have a marginal benefit for CVD outcomes, but further studies are needed to examine how the dose of fish oil supplements affects its clinically meaningful effectiveness.”
The study also showed that supplemental omega 3 fatty acids helped lower triglycerides, blood pressure and inflammation in the arteries!
Out of all omega 3 fatty acids, ALA (which is found in plants like walnuts and flax) is the least bioavailable since the body is not very efficient in converting it to DHA and EPA. Since the body needs a large supply of DHA and EPA for optimal function, I would not rely on plant based omega 3s for optimal health.
If you’re not a fan of fatty fish, the best way to get enough EPA and DHA is with a krill oil supplement. Krill oil is superior to fish oil as it does not oxidize as quickly and contains other antioxidants and help with mitochondrial function 💪🏻
My entire guide to seafood can be found here
Omega 6 fatty acids are found in seeds, nuts and grains and also have a place in our diet when eaten correctly and in balance with omega 3. The problem in our modern world is that we consume too much and processed (oxidized) versions of these fatty acids (vegetable oil, processed foods, restaurant foods, old nuts/seeds).
To make sure your nuts and seeds don’t go rancid, always store them in the fridge or freezer. Especially nut flours. If you supplement with flaxseeds, do not buy ground flax but grind it yourself prior to eating to make sure the fats are still intact 😉
Since omega fatty acids are polyunsaturated, they oxidize easily when processed and exposed to heat, creating trans-fats which are very damaging to our bodies. You can learn about PUFAS here.
Omega 9 fatty acids are the only monounsaturated essential fatty acid (oleic acid for example) and are found primarily in olive oil, macadamia nuts, pistachios, almonds, and avocados. The body can make omega 9s from the other essential amino acids but the process is not very efficient so it’s best to make an effort to consume them to make sure you get your fair share!
They are important in managing LDL and HDL cholesterol levels in the body, are anti-inflammatory and are critical for healthy brain and heart function!
Omega 3/6 Ratio:
Having a healthy omega 3:6 ratio is critical for our health. As mentioned before, we are currently consuming too much omega 6, especially the oxidized versions. Our hunter and gatherer ancestors consumed about a 1:1 ratio, but today the average American has an omega 3:6 ratio of 1:20 which is dangerously high.
Like humans, animals on conventional farming operations struggle with similar omega fatty acid imbalance which makes them metabolically unhealthy, there they are not healthy for humans to consume.
For example, chicken and pigs that are fed a soy and corn based diet (naturally they should be on pasture where they can forage and eat insects) have super high levels of omega 6. The is can be corrected if they are kept how they should be. The same goes for beef. While grain-fed beef boast omega 3:6 ratios of up to 1:30, Grassfed beef contains omega 3s in the correct ratio to omega 6 (1:4-2).
To counter the abundance of omega 6 in our diets, make sure to eat a lot of animal and fish products which are rich in omega 3, and cut out any vegetable oils and processed foods. You will get your healthy omega 6s by consuming nuts and seeds in their natural form!
Make it a goal to implement meals rich in omega 3s and healthy omega 6s in your meal plan to give your body the fuel it needs 😎
Breakfast ideas include:
2) eggs and bacon from heritage pastured pork 🍳
Lunch can be:
3) this fat fueled Lasagne 🍝
4) tuna pasta with a twist 🫕
For dinner whip up:
1) grass-fed steak or bison roast with veggies and butter 🥩🧈
3) Roasted Fish with a fresh salad 🥗🐟