by Karen Roth, MSNC
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in high concentrations in many of the foods we eat in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Omega-6 oils, including corn and soybean oil, are used when making many popular foods such as French fries, crackers, potato chips, muffins, cereals, cookies, and breads. Due to the convenience, and sometimes dependency, on these types of fast foods, many of us have a very high intake of omega-6 – and that can create an imbalance to omega-3s.
It’s important to note that omega-6s shouldn’t be demonized. Our body needs them, and they can actually also be found in healthy foods such as nuts and seeds. The problem is, they can be harmful when consumed in excessive amounts from unhealthy sources. When consumed in moderation, omega-6s can be beneficial, as they support bone and muscle health. But these health benefits can only be achieved when omega-6s are consumed in the proper ratio with omega-3s. The optimal ratio is 2:1 omega-6:omega-3, and not higher than 3:1. Those who consume large amounts of convenience foods can have ratios of 20:1 and even as high as 50:1.
When evaluating our diet, we shouldn’t only categorize fast foods as the quick meals we get through the drive through or a walk-up window, we should also include convenient grab-and-go foods, like frozen entrees, coffee shop muffins, snack bars, etc.
We can balance out the omega-6s we consume by eating more omega-3-rich foods such as salmon and flaxseeds, while supplementing with fish oil. Omega-3s support cardiovascular, joint, brain, vision, and immune health, and also promote healthy aging.
Here’s what a balanced omega-6:omega-3 diet looks like:
by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
Our bodies are home to a mix of good and bad bacteria. Probiotics, also known as beneficial bacteria, line the digestive tract and support the body's ability to absorb nutrients. Under ideal conditions, the friendly bacteria outnumber the bad ones. But a poor diet, stress, and other factors can upset the balance. Restoring a healthy balance with supplemental probiotics helps support overall wellness.
An estimated 60 to 80 percent of the immune system is located in the gut, so it makes sense that a healthy gut supports a healthy immune system. Probiotics also support colon and digestive health, and are beneficial for people of all ages.
Although probiotics are found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut, the number of good bacteria is typically too low to sufficiently replenish what our body needs. And foods typically contain very few different strains.
Probiotics are available in a variety of convenient forms. Talk to your doctor or child's pediatrician to determine which form and dosage are best. With such wide-ranging benefits, a probiotic supplement is well worth adding to your family's daily regimen.
The Daily Dose blog features health and wellness articles from Senior Nutritionist & Educator Jolie Root, LPN,LNC; Nutritionist & Educator Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN; and Featured Guest Blogger Karen Roth, MSNC. Other guest bloggers will also join us.
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