This Fat Increases Your Inflammation
In his first book, Inflammation Nation, Dr. Chilton describes the dramatic changes in America’s food supply over recent decades. One of these changes has been the type of oils used by food companies as they’ve sought to reduce costs and create foods that last a long-time on the shelf. While lower costs and making food that does not “go bad” for a year or more are arguably good, an inadvertent consequence of this change is that the food supply now contains much higher levels of a particular fat, and this fat increases your inflammation throught your whole body. And, that spells trouble for your health…
The fat we are talking about is omega-6.
Getting some omega-6 in our diets is important; however, at high levels it contributes to whole body inflammation which research has associated with a range of chronic health conditions including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, allergies, asthma, certain cancers, autoimmune disorders and more.
What’s Your Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio?
Within our body’s cells, pro-inflammatory omega-6s compete with their anti-inflammatory cousin omega-3. That’s why an anti-inflammation lifestyle advocates a balanced, anti-inflammatory approach to eating that increases your omega-3 AND decreases your omega-6.
Eating today’s typical Western diet, omega-6 to omega-3 Ratios can be 15:1 or even higher. For a successful anti-inflammatory lifestyle, you should target an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio below 5:1, and ideally 2:1 or even 1:1.
Dr. Chilton published a study in gene-based nutrition showing that reducing the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio from greater than 15:1 to less than 5:1 positively influences genes that provide protection against allergies and other inflammatory diseases.
Many other studies have also demonstrated the benefits of a lower omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. For example…for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, ratio of 4:1 was associated with a 70% decrease in total mortality; and a ratio of 2.5:1 reduced rectal cell proliferation in patients with colorectal cancer, whereas a ratio of 4:1 with the same amount of omega-3 had no effect. A lower omega 6 to omega 3 ratio has also been associated with a decreased risk for other diseases, including breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.
How to Reduce Your Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio
The good news is that an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can help reduce your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
First, increase your omega-3 by eating fish that are high in omega-3, and taking a quality omega-3 fish oil supplement each day. A fish oil supplement is a great choice because it is concentrated to provide the key omega-3s, EPA & DHA, with each serving.
Soybean oil is the #1 source of omega 6 in the American diet followed by corn oil and cottonseed oil. These oils are found in many processed and fried foods.
There are two strategies to decrease omega-6 rich foods in your diet. First, substitute high omega-6 choices with lower omega-6 oils. Olive oil and avocado oil are two good options to lower omega-6 options.
The second strategy is to minimize consumption of foods that contain high levels of omega-6. These include fried and other processed foods made with large amounts of vegetable oil, especially soybean oil, corn oil and cottonseed oil; as well as salad oils and margarines. Look for these oils in the ingredient section of the product’s label.
Common high-omega-6 foods include:
- Processed foods and snacks such as cookies
- Fried foods, such as potato chips or French fries
- Salad dressings
- Mayonnaise and mayonnaise based sauces & dips
- Margarine and foods made with margarine (e.g. cakes, biscuits)
- Shortening and pastry based foods
Health-e-Solutions comment: Inflammation is one of the key factors we consider when determining the appropriateness of a food for the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle. Limiting omega-6 intake is one means by which to further control inflammation.
There are many different inflammatory diseases, including diabetes, yet all of them share the same underlying driver: an inappropriate inflammatory response. Inflammation impacts the lives of millions of people around the world. It is an epidemic that has been accelerated by the modern western diet. We were not designed to eat primarily the foods that are found most commonly in today’s society. The rising cost of health care is due, in part, to the drastic rise of chronic inflammatory disease.
It is important that we empower ourselves with the knowledge and tools to fight back. One of the Primary Food Filters we employ to help us select only the best foods for thriving health and better #BloodSugarControl is to determine whether or not a food is inflammatory. Our Primary Food Filters downloadable, printable special report will fully equip you to make the best food and ingredient choices following the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle to help you #MasterDiabetesNaturally.