Here are 6 strategies to help strike a balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats in the diet:
1. Eat Fish at least twice a week. Omega-3 amounts in 3 ounces: Sardines 1,950 mg; Salmon 1,060 mg; Canned Albacore 900 mg; Mussels 700 mg; Rainbow Trout 630 mg. Wild fish such as Alaska Salmon is higher in Omega-3 fats than farm-raised such as Atlantic Salmon. A great resource for those living in the Omaha area is Absolutely Fresh Seafood, where fresh seafood is flown in daily.
2. Use oils low in Omega-6 fats. These include olive oil, canola, peanut and sesame oils. Limit oils high in Omega-6 fats such as soy, corn, cottonseed, safflower and sunflower oils.
3. Consume grass fed meats. Industrialized farms feed their animal’s corn and soy, which are high in Omega-6 fats. It has been found that grass fed cattle have 79% less Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio than from grain fed cattle.
4. Incorporate flax seed into your diet. Flax contains a type of Omega-3 fat called Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). The body can convert small amounts of ALA into DHA which is the type of Omega-3 with health benefits. The flax must be ground, a spice or coffee grinder works well, for ensuring freshness of ALA. Sprinkle it in smoothies, salads, cereal, and yogurt and into sauces or dressings. Men should avoid consuming flax and flax oil pills as there is a potential link with prostate cancer.
5. Consume an Omega-3 supplement, especially if you do not consume much or any fish. Adults should look for a supplement containing 900 mg-2,000 mg per day. If you limit Omega-6 food sources in your diet, you can take the lower amount. Kids can take a supplement containing 400 mg per day but instead should be encouraged to consume a low processed diet that contains fish such as salmon and sardines which are safe choices when considering mercury toxins. Always consult your doctor prior to taking any supplements as there may be contraindications.
6. Check ingredients! Processed salad dressings, crackers, breads, pasta sauces and granola bars are high in Omega-6 fats. There are also a multitude of products in the market that are supplemented with Omega-3, including eggs. Make sure these products are not also high in saturated fat, sugar and sodium.