Omega-3 vs. Omega-6 Fatty Acids: What’s the Difference?

(Important Media) -

Ever wondered what the difference is between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids? Here’s a quick lesson.

I’ve been taking Rise app for a test drive these past couple of weeks and, to my surprise, have learned a few things. Not that I went into this experience thinking I knew everything about nutrition and healthy eating, but after years of researching healthful diet and lifestyle, I felt I had little left to learn. About my own personal diet, anyway.

Well, I was wrong.

Two major things I found out through the nutritionist, Anar, I am working with, is that I need to get more protein and fiber into my diet. Also, I could really stand to up the strength training. Being a carb lover and cardio junky, it makes sense that I am lacking in the areas of protein and strength training.

After a few days of higher protein/fewer carbs I was feeling pretty sluggish. As in, I kind of wanted to go curl up in a ball, make everyone quit talking to me, and take a nap. Like all day long. Not good. I decided I needed some carbs and made switches like swapping turkey and cheese for oatmeal. Remember how we talked about creating a plan that works for YOU. Ya, that is huge.

Another thing I learned — omega-6 fatty acids are not your friend. Maybe you already knew this. I did not. You always hear about needing to get more omega-3 essential fatty acids in your diet. So I thought omega-6s would be just as good if not better. Double the fun, right? But there’s a big difference in omega-3 vs. omega-6.

Omega-6s are a completely different animal from omega-3s. Where omega-3s improve your heart, skin, and joint health, omega-6s cause inflammation. And since we know that inflammation is pretty much the recipe to ill health and disease, omega-6s are definitely not essential to maintaining good health.

“In our western diet, we get lots of omega-6 and not enough omega-3s; when we get too much omega 6 it does lead to inflammation, says Anar Allidina.

So where are they and how do we get rid of them? Omega-6 fatty acids are found in refined oils and the foods that contain them. Fast and processed foods are high in omega-6s, and our western diets are filled with that stuff.

To keep omega-3s high and omega-6s low, cut down on consumption of processed foods and be sure to include olive oil, walnuts, flax, and pumpkin seeds in your diet.