Balance your healthy fats with Omega-3
We have a love affair with fat, but it is a troubled relationship. We eat it, and then we break up with it. Is fat good for us or bad for us? It turns out that it all depends on the type of fat you eat – and the balance of certain fats in your diet with omega-3 fatty acids being the most important.
How the food industry adulterated our fats
About 15,000 years ago, people ate wild game, wild plants, and fish. Their diets were well balanced in the ratio of omega-6 fats (from seeds) to omega-3 fats (from their wild food).
Another 5,000 years passed, and something happened.
Agricultural practices sprang up, and, along with them, agrarian communities. As grains and crops were domesticated and bread came into use, there was a gradual increase in the level of omega-6 fats and a gradual decline in omega-3 fats in people`s diets. They just were not eating as much natural food anymore.
Fast-forward to post-World War 2. Starting in the 1950s, food preserving technology that had been developed for the war drove the creation of processed mass-market foods, which were filled with oils and sugar.
The use of margarine swelled, too, because it was cheaper than butter. Margarine is produced through hydrogenation, which solidifies liquid at room temperature. To do this, vegetable oils are heated, subjected to semi toxic and toxic metals (such as nickel and aluminium), and exposed to hydrogen gas. This process also creates nasty trans fatty acids. Today, trans fats have been largely expelled from margarine, but they are still everywhere in processed food.
The vegetable oils used to manufacture margarine, like corn, soybean, cottonseed, and canola, contain large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. These acids are found naturally in poultry, eggs, nuts, and avocados. Our bodies need this type of fatty acids, but today people are getting too much of it through processed foods – up to twenty times more than required, according to some estimates.
This imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 puts the body in a state of chronic inflammation. It also tends to thicken the blood, potentially setting the stage for abnormal blood clotting. The longer you go with an imbalance of fats, the more likely you are to develop heart disease and its potentially deadly complications. Omega-3 fats, by contrast, maintain the safe and healthy consistency of circulating blood – and keep your cardiovascular system in good working order.
Researchers also claim that fats high in omega-6 promote tumor growth. Omega-3 fats can actually slow down the spread of cancer cells to other organs. They also boost the immune system, making the body less vulnerable to diseases. Obesity, asthma, depression, premature aging, and other problems have been linked to an imbalance of these two fats. The more omega-6 fats we eat, the more omega-3 fats we require to counter the bad effects.
Today, omega-3 fatty acids have become the next “in” additive. Omega-3 is being put back in many foods, including cereals, eggs, peanut butter, milk, cheese, and orange juice. This is sad. We never had to worry about this back in the days before cheap oils and processed foods came on the scene.
Extract from book The Food Babe Way by Vani Hari