“I eat fish to make sure I get my Omega-3s” someone proudly announced the other day. My brain clicked open the “folders” on Omega-3s, Omega-6s, and fish. “It’s great that you know your body needs Omega-3s” I started. “Would you like a little more information about why Omega-3s are important and why fish isn’t a great source?” Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes people are just interested in believing they are right, even when the science says they’re wrong. Since you have joined us on the RnR Journey to Health, I’m going to assume you want what the science has to say.
Facts about Omega-3 and Omega-6
- Omega-6 increases inflammation. A good thing if you have an injury or a cold that needs to be healed.
- Omega-3 decreases inflammation. A good thing almost any other time.
- Omega-6 found in abundance in the Standard American Diet (SAD); in corn and soybean oils for example.
- Omega-3 harder to get unless you’re eating plant-foods. 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day will give you all you need.
It’s not how much of each you have (more isn’t better) it’s the BALANCE between them. It should be about 1:1. People eating the SAD typically are closer to 16:1 (Omega-6 to Omega-3). Obviously, that is going to cause an inflammation problem.
How to reduce your Omega-6 intake
Start by avoiding fried, processed, packaged and hydrogenated “foods.” Restaurants aren’t doing you any favors either.
Why not fish for Omega-3?
Usually fish get their Omega-3 the same way we should; from plants. But most of the fish available in the US aren’t getting their normal diet of plants. They are raised on fish-farms; 80% of which come from China. In China fish are fed pig and chicken feces (I don’t know how much Omega-3 feces have in them and quite frankly I don’t care). In America, fish are fed soy and corn (high in Omega-6). Farmed raised fish simply don’t have the Omega-3 levels we have been led to believe they do.
I hear you saying, “No worries. I’ll just eat wild caught fish!” You could certainly do that. And you might get the elusive Omega-3 you’re looking for. But be aware it comes packaged with just as much cholesterol as beef and with a side of heavy metal. Not to mention the risk of metabolic diseases of affluence like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
We are going to stick to eating ground flaxseed. It comes with a side of gut-healthy fiber. We recommend you do the same.
If you are ready to address how your food choices are negatively affecting your health, let’s set up a free get-to-know-you chat. Send me an email and let’s get you on track to taking control of your stress eating. Health@RnRJourney.com
Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at Health@RnRJourney.com.