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Body+Soul about Omega-6s: Good for You?

By now you know that omega-3s benefit your health. But what about omega-6s which became the odd stepsisters in the polyunsaturated family, having been roundly criticized?

Complex in character, omega-6s don’t fit neatly into a “good” or “bad” category. Like omega 3-s, omega-6s help your body function on many levels. In some ways, the two work together. For optimum health, some experts believe the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s in our diets should be one to one (or at least no more than five to one). And therein lies the problem, because unlike omega-3s, which we get from limited sources (certain fish and select plant foods), omega-6s abound in our diets.

Almost 90 percent of the omega-6s we consume come in the form of linoleic acid (often referred to by its acronym, LA). Foods like poultry and eggs contain linoleic acid, but the biggest source is vegetable oils such as corn, safflower, soybean, and sunflower. In my previous Russian language note posted about fatty acids I mentioned that LA should have made only 10 percent of all consumed fatty acids together with other polyunsaturated acids (approximately 4-10 grams per day).

As omega-6s oils appear ubiquitously in everything from baked goods and salty snacks to fried and pan-seared foods, many experts advocate that people reduce their omega-6s intake. I would say the same to those muscle oriented ones who eat a lot of protein (chicken and eggs).

Limit saturated fats while emphasizing monounsaturated (olive oil) and omega-3 fats, both of which have been shown to promote good health.


1 Comment so far

  1. Tom Nastas

    Olga, real good on this piece of work. Keep it up, it’s informative and so are you.



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