How to Balance Good to Bad Fats to Boost Energy?
A little while ago I discussed four categories of fats and their specific roles they play in your health. By now you should know that not all fats are healthy, so it’s time to discuss simple ways to balance good and bad fat ratios.
You've probably heard about the importance of Omega-3s, and you've most likely seen them advertised on food labels or written in headlines on the cover of health magazines. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for your body to function optimally. Healthy fats provide you with energy all day long and they prevent an afternoon energy slump.
Fats are also known to increase metabolism for long-term weight loss and they prevent cancer and heart disease. Furthermore, healthy fats help control blood clots, therefore, great at preventing strokes.
Essential fatty acids are chains of carbon atoms our bodies are not capable of producing on their own. We must get them from our food since they are essential for the following bodily functions:
Increase metabolism by regulating adrenal and thyroid hormones
Promote weight loss
Lower blood sugar and improve insulin resistance
Great for the immune system
Improve heart function
Prevent brain damage
The two essential fatty acids are Omega-3 and Omega-6. In order for essential fatty acids to operate properly within the body and grant us good health, they must remain in a healthy ratio of one another.
What is a Healthy Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio?
A healthy ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is in the range of 1:1 and 1:4, but most Americans consume their essential fatty acids in a ratio of 1:16 or 1:20! This is due to the high amounts of Omega-6 that are found in many of the foods we eat.
Too Much of a Good Thing: The Dangers of Omega-6
The body needs both essential fatty acids, but too much Omega-6 is actually unhealthy if not balanced with an equal amount of Omega-3. High amounts of Omega-6 can cause inflammation in the body, leading to weight gain, autoimmune diseases like arthritis, kidney failure, and problems with the heart.
Omega-6 can be found in the following foods:
Refined vegetable oils
It's understandable why many people have poor essential fatty acid ratios. Research shows that about 40% of Americans eat at a fast-food restaurant at least once a week. Restaurants commonly use refined vegetable oils for deep frying, not to mention the majority of packaged and processed foods that contain soy and corn oil.
According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the US Institute of Medicine, adults should consume no more than 15 grams of Omega-6 per day. It’s quite easy to get an adequate amount of Omega-6 in the diet.
Why Should You Eat More Omega-3s?
In order to achieve a balanced fatty acid ratio, lower your intake of Omega-6s, and increase your intake of Omega-3s. Omega-3 fats reduce appetite, regulate hormones, prevent fat storage, can improve heart health, fight inflammation, prevent dementia, and support overall mental health.
There are three main types of Omega-3:
DHA (DOCOSAHEXAENOIC ACID) don't confuse with DHEA ( an adrenal hormone)
EPA ((EICOSAPENTAENOIC ACID)
Enzymes in the liver must convert ALA to EPA & DHA. This requires a lot of energy and less than 15% gets converted. Therefore, stick with foods high in DHA & EPA. It is best to source your Omega-3s from sea-based creatures. This includes cold-water fish oils, wild Alaskan salmon, and even seaweed. The majority of research on the health benefits of Omega-3 has surrounded EPA and DHA.
Eat the following foods to increase your Omega-3 intake.
High-Quality Omega-3 Food Sources:
Fish oil/Cod liver oil
Seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds)
Nuts (walnuts & macadamia)
Image courtesy of Artizone
If you want to try supplementing with fish oil, I recommend investing in something that costs a bit more so you aren't getting low-quality, rancid fish oil. If you see a bottle for Omega-3 capsules or even a combination of Omega-3-6-9 on the shelf, just remember you shouldn't be supplementing Omega-6 since you get enough from your diet and your body actually makes its own Omega-9.
Your best option is to cut back on your refined vegetable oils and deep-fried foods and add wild-caught fish to your diet up to 2x per week. Fresh, raw, or canned fish is best since the fat in them hasn't been deep-fried and oxidized.
CLICK HERE to watch my video where I teach you more about how to increase essential fatty acids for the best health outcome. Start here and keep me posted on your healthy journey.
Comment #replay when you watch my video so I can hop in there to answer your questions and give you a big shout out.