What are the “Omegas”?
The “Omegas” are polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. There are several types of these fatty acids and they are all grouped under names like Omega-3 or Omega-6.
When we talk about Omega-3, we need to know that there are omega-3s of plant and animal origin. From the intake of foods that contain omega-3, two fatty acids are synthesised that are needed for the proper functioning of the cells in our body: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Omega-6s also represent essential fats, which means that they cannot be synthesised by our body and must be received with the intake of foods that contain them.
What do we need them for?
Once we have consumed a food that contains Omega-3 or Omega-6, our body receives or synthesises the omega-6 arachidonic fatty acid and the omega-3 EPA and DHA it needs. These fatty acids are used for the formation of cell membranes.
Omega-3 and omega-6 in cells must be in a specific ratio. Today, the optimal ratio is defined as 1: 2 or 1: 3, but the truly ideal ratio is 1: 1, alas not very realistic, since an average person who does not pay much attention to his or her diet will have this ratio in a proportion of 1:17 to 1:20, due to an over-consumption of omega-6.
The imbalance of this proportion is what notably affects our health. Omega-6 and omega-3 fats are sources of the most important intracellular regulators of prostaglandins. These substances, just like hormones, regulate many processes in our body.
Why can everyone take Omega-3 dietary supplements?
Today, the foods that are part of an average diet are high in Omega-6, so we consume it daily without any problem and exceed the necessary amount without any effort.
The Omega-3 and Omega-6 ratio in our body should reach a 1: 1 ratio, because Omega-3 and Omega-6 act as antagonists in the body, so their balance is very important.
For example, hormones, which are formed in cells from omega-6 fats, stimulate blood clotting, constrict blood vessels, and increase heart excitability and heart rate. Whereas the prostaglandins in omega-3 fats work just the other way around.
However, if there is an excessive intake of Omega-6, this can lead to inflammation in the body. In particular, in the intestine, leading to worsening of the immune system. Chronic inflammation can be one of the main drivers of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and many types of cancer.
Since Omega-3 is the antagonist of Omega-6, it helps regulate inflammation in the body.
Therefore, one can take the Omega-3 capsules in an amount of 1g per day without any health hazards and without a medical prescription.
25 products with the best Omega-3 -Omega-6 ratio
Very often, the consumption of such foods as walnuts, olive oil, avocados is recommended thanks to their high content of Omega-3. However, this recommendation does not give us full picture, as many of these foods, while high in Omega-3, have an even higher content of Omega-6. For this reason, for example, it is recommended to limit the intake of nuts to a handful a day, because they are high in Omega-6 and also in calories. So, here you can see the list of 25 foods that have an Omega-3 Omega-6 ratio of more than 1.
- Fish (be careful: tinned tuna that comes in oil no longer has the same Omega-3 Omega-6 ratio)
- Wakame seaweed
- Lettuce and all kinds of greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Flaxseed oil
- Gouda cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Roquefort cheese
- Romano cheese
- Dried thyme
- Dried basil
- Dried parsley
If you have any doubts about this or would like to do the blood test to check on the state of your health, you can visit our General Practitioner. To make an appointment at Clínica La Siesta, please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling us at +34 966 784 195, or by writing us a WhatsApp to +34 692 134 136.