Need to bal­ance omega fats for bet­ter health

The Sun (Malaysia) - - WHERE2EAT -

IN OR­DER to tackle grow­ing obe­sity rates, di­ets need to in­clude more omega-3 fatty acids and fewer omega-6s.

The ex­perts be­lieve a bet­ter bal­ance of omega-3 and -6 in the diet is a more ef­fec­tive way of im­prov­ing health than cur­rent nu­tri­tion poli­cies, which fo­cus on calo­ries and en­ergy ex­pen­di­ture and have “failed mis­er­ably over the past 30 years”, say Dr Artemis Si­mopou­los of the Cen­tre for Ge­net­ics, Nu­tri­tion, and Health in Wash­ing­ton DC, and Dr James DiNi­colan­to­nio of Saint Luke’s Mid Amer­ica Heart In­sti­tute in Kansas.

But tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances and mod­ern farm­ing meth­ods have changed the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ra­tio in the typ­i­cal western diet.

Re­cent years have seen an in­creased pro­duc­tion of veg­etable oils high in omega-6, such as sun­flower, saf­flower and corn oils, and an­i­mal feeds chang­ing from omega-3-rich grass to grain, re­sult­ing in high lev­els of omega6 in the meat, eggs and dairy in the food sup­ply for the first time in the his­tory of hu­man be­ings.

Although we do also need a suf­fi­cient amount of omega-6 in the diet, hu­man be­ings evolved to eat equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

How­ever, the typ­i­cal western diet now in­cludes an un­bal­anced di­etary ra­tio of 16:1.

In their re­port, the re­searchers now advise: “The time has come to re­turn the omega-3 fatty acids in the food sup­ply and de­crease the omega-6 fatty acids by chang­ing the cooking oils and eat­ing less meat and more fish.”

To lower lev­els of omega-6, re­duce the use of veg­etable oils such as corn oil, sun­flower, saf­flower, cot­ton­seed and soya bean oil, and in­crease the use of oils rich in omega-3, in­clud­ing flaxseed oil, canola oil, per­illa oil, wal­nut oil and chia oil.

As well as fatty fish such as salmon, mack­erel and tuna, seafood is also high in omega-3.

If you do still want to eat meat and dairy, look for grass-fed pro­duce and try switch­ing to or­ganic milk and meat, which ac­cord­ing to a pair of large-scale stud­ies pub­lished re­cently, con­tains about 50% more omega3 fatty acids than con­ven­tion­al­lypro­duced equiv­a­lents.

Nuts like wal­nuts and seeds are also good sources whereas dark green veg­eta­bles such as spinach, kale, Brus­sels sprouts and wa­ter­cress also con­tain some omega-3 as well as many other added health ben­e­fits. – AFPRe­laxnews

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