Essential fatty acids, as the name describes, must be obtained by food. They come in two major forms:
1. Linoleic Acid (Omega 6)
2. Linolenic Acid (Omega 3)
Omega 6 sources include nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and whole grains to name a few. Omega 3 sources include fish, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds. It is important to note that flax seeds will oxidize very quickly and many of their nutrients will disappear if you grind them up and leave them for long periods. It is suggested that you grind them on a daily basis when you need to use them to gain maximum benefit.
The typical ratio for Omega 6 to Omega 3 is 12:1; however, historical estimates suggest that we should try to attain a ratio of closer to 1:1 (6:3) for optimal health. This is because Linoleic acid (omega 6) is more pro-inflammatory on the body and leads to more inflammatory processes compared to the less inflammatory Linolenic (omega3), which produces many anti-inflammatory pathways.
Some health benefits of obtaining more Omega 3 in your diet include: lower risk of heart disease (by decreasing blood triglycerides, platelet aggregation, improving arterial wall tone), lower global inflammation on the body, protection against various cancers as well as protecting your brain against dementia and mental health issues.