Omega 3 Oil – What is it? Why do I need it? Where do I get it?
Most people have heard of Omega 3 oils and that they should consume them but very few people really understand what they are and why they are important. The next three entries will explain this interesting topic in an understandable and comprehensive fashion.
There are two dietary fats which are essential., that is, required for human life- Omega 6 and Omega 3. Omega 6 comes primarily from seeds or grains such as wheat, corn, rice, and the food stuffs made from these grains like bread, pasta, beer and most of the oils we use to cook with such as corn and vegetable oil. Once we consume Omega 6 oils they become a huge part of our cell membranes and also create substances that support the inflammatory response, for example, to infection or cancer or injury.
Omega 3 oils are made by one-celled organisms in the ocean called plankton and are also found in green leafy vegetables. Since fish, particularly cold-water fish, eat plankton and algae they are a great source of Omega 3. These oils also become part of our cell membranes, particularly in our brains, eyes and heart but they do the opposite of Omega 6 with regards to inflammation- they actually fight inflammation. So the higher the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 that you consume, the more at risk you are for developing inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, arthritic diseases, auto immune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and COPD even chronic depression.
One of the reasons these types of diseases are so common in industrialized countries is because of the unhealthy high consumption of grain-based foods (breads, rice pasta etc.) with a too low consumption of Omega 3 from wild caught fish, grass fed beef and green leafy vegetables.
Since almost all the flesh we eat from cows, pigs and chickens is raised on corn, which is an Omega 6 based feed, we get it coming and going. Even most of the fish we eat is “farm raised” which means they are fed corn based fish chow and not therefore getting the Omega 3 containing food of algae and plankton that wild fish would eat. So one can see how just about every where we turn in a modern American supermarket we are looking at high
Omega 6 foods- cereals, snack foods, breads, farm raised beef and fish etc with very few if any high Omega 3 foods.