The Critical Balance of Essential Fatty Acids
As with so many health issues, the key to essential fatty acids (EFAs) is balance. Your body can’t function optimally without a balanced ratio of EFAs. The optimum balance of essential fatty acids is a balance of omega-6 to omega-3 that is somewhere between 1 to 1 and 4 to 1.
Unfortunately, the typical Western diet contains 14 to 25 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids. This unbalanced ratio that most of us live with determines myriad biochemical events that affect our health. For example, too much omega-6 (the oils that dominates our typical diet, like vegetable oil) promotes an inflammatory state, which in turn increases your risk for blood clots and narrowing of blood vessels.
We now also know that without sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids, the body cannot adequately build an ideal cell membrane. Membranes that are poorly constructed are not capable of optimizing cellular health, which in turn increases your risk for a host of health problems, including stroke, heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias, some forms of cancer, insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes), asthma, hypertension, age-related macular degeneration, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPE), autoimmune disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.
Foods rich in omega-3 include salmon, seeds and nuts. Eggs, milk and juices are often fortified with 0mega-3 fatty acids.