Omega-6 Hunt

By Robyn Priebe on 03/31/2010
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Everyone and their brother is on the omega-3 bandwagon lately.  If you are not taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement yourself, I bet you know someone who is.  Many people have been trying to increase their omega 3 fatty acid intake to get the health benefits this essential fat offers, however not everyone realizes that the other essential fatty acids, omega-6′s needs some attention as well.

Our new Food As Medicine program at Green Mountain at Fox Run focuses quite a bit on eating to reduce inflammation in the body.  Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in helping to decrease inflammation.  However, what’s key to getting the anti-inflammatory effect is changing the BALANCE of omega-3 to omega-6 in your diet.  If you increase the omega-3′s while simultaneously increasing omega-6′s (such as taking a omega 3-6-9 supplement) you may not be getting a benefit, since the balance of 3′s to 6′s hasn’t changed.  Many need to increase their omega-3 intake and decrease their omega-6 intake.

Most people know where to find omega-3′s but are less familiar with which foods are high in omega-6 fatty acids.  Monika Woolsey, MS, RD, a nationally recognized registered dietitian/exercise physiologist who specializes in PCOS leads our LIVING WELL™ Learning to Thrive with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) program at Green Mountain.  Monika’s tip for locating oils high in omega-6 fatty acids is to be on the look out for oils that start with the letter “C” or “S” (with the exception of canola oil).   Corn, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, and sesame oils are sources of omega-6′s. 

I tend to focus on reducing processed foods and grain-fed meats to decrease our intake of corn and soybean derived fats.  The next time you get a chance, take a look at the ingredient list of any pre-made foods you purchase to identify the types of oils used in making that product.  It’s very likely that corn and/or soybean oil will show up.  Moving away from processed foods, eating more fish, and less grain-fed animals will help to improve the balance of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids in your intake.

Do a little label reading and let me know what you find!  I’m always looking for salad dressings, mayo, and crackers that don’t have corn or soybean oil.

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  • Sherry says:

    Robyn, you might take a look at kosher for passover products, since both corn and soy are regarded, in the Ashkenazic tradition, as being enough like the prohibited grains that we don’t eat them either. So this week our kosher grocery store has things like macadamia nut oil, walnut oil, and almond oil. You have to watch out for cottonseed oil, though — which they use to make the most disgusting margarine known to humankind. I was very excited this year to go trans-fat free by doing all my cooking and baking with mac nut oil. It all came out very well, and not noticeably different.
    .-= Sherry’s last blog post..Another Stumbling Block =-.

  • Heather says:

    I use Drew’s. It has no HFCS and is in a glass bottle (which is what I was looking for) and as it turns out, it also meets your oil requirements. The only oil on the label is canola. Dairy, soy, and gluten-free. And tasty! Well, I have been sticking to raspberry, so I can’t comment on the tastiness (or contents) of any other flavors.

  • Robyn says:

    Thank you for the suggestions; the tip on passover products is brilliant! I will most certainly watch out for the disgusting margarine :)

    Heather, good suggestion on Drew’s. I do like the glass bottle too. Drew’s is actually a local company for us here in VT, just 25 minutes down the road! How cool.

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