We’ve all been hearing a lot about the importance of essential fatty acids and ‘good fats’. Foods like nuts, seeds, and oils have made headlines in health news about their endless benefits – but is there a chance they’re causing more harm than good? While essential fatty acids like omega-3s are critical for healthy brain and body function, omega-6s may not be a good choice for people dealing with eczema and other issues with inflammation. It turns out that omega-6 fatty acids can actually cause inflammation in the body – and it also turns out that the average American gets way more than we’ll ever need to be healthy.
The reason essential fatty acids are called essential is because our bodies cannot make them. We rely on foods to bring these good fats into our bodies, otherwise we simply go without. Omega-6s are just as important as omega-3s, but unlike omega-3s we get a ton of 6s in most everything we eat. Adding a 6 supplement on top of the standard American diet can leave our bodies overloaded with this single fatty acid that can cause inflammation and serious eczema flare ups.
Here are some of the foods highest in the omega-6 fatty acid. Once you see these foods you’ll understand why we already get so many 6s in our diets each day…
- Vegetable oils including canola, safflower, grapeseed, sunflower, and corn.
- Mayonnaise and many other dressings that contain oils.
- Many types of nuts, especially walnuts and peanuts
If you look at the ingredients in many conventional foods, or look at the ingredients used to prepare many meals, you’ll see oils on the list. We are so oil dependent in our food that it’s one of the top selling ingredients in the stores and one that comes in a variety of forms. Many oils are even presented in a way that make them appear to be healthy when in fact they’re over processed and sensitive to heat.
Keeping tabs on how much omega-6 containing foods we get each day can help dramatically reduce inflammation levels in the body. Keeping these foods down to a healthy minimum can give the body a chance to finally rid itself of an inflammation cycle and even heal the damage done by inflammation over time.
We can also look to healthier alternatives to nut and seed oils like coconut and avocado – both oils that do well with high-heat cooking, are not as prone to rancidity and toxicity, and have some pretty great health benefits for the whole body.
What’s your favorite way to replace omega-6 containing oils in your family’s diet?
Share with us in the comments below!