Omega-3 to Omega-6: This is the optimal ratio

Updated: 31.10.2021 – 20:29

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Omega-3 to Omega-6: The right ratio of fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids – effect and food

Omega-3 fatty acids – effect and food

This is why omega-3 fatty acids are so healthy and found in these foods.

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Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids perform important functions in the body. But their relationship is also crucial to health.

Much has been said about the health benefits of omega-3s. The polyunsaturated fatty acids are important for our heart, brain and eyes, among other things. But not only omega-3 but also omega-6 fatty acids perform important functions in the human body. there is the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids essential.


Omega-3 and Omega-6: Essential for the body


Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids perform vital functions in the body. Both fatty acids are involved in the regulation of blood vessels and inflammatory processes, among other things. While omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation and constrict blood vessels, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory and dilating effects on blood vessels.


The body itself cannot produce the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA). This means that they must be supplied through food. The ratio of the two fatty acids is crucial.

The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids


According to researchers, our ancestors’ diet was based on a 1: 1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends a ratio of 5: 1. But in reality, the modern Western diet is said to be around 15: 1.

The imbalance between the two fatty acids is associated with harmful health consequences. The risk of cardiovascular disease as well as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases may increase.


How can the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 be improved?


To balance the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, the supply of omega-6 should be reduced and omega-3 increased. This can be achieved by reducing omega-6 rich cooking oils such as sunflower oil and thistle oil. Linseed oil, walnut oil, hemp oil and rapeseed oil are among the omega-3 rich foods and should be used more often.


Fish, especially fatty sea fish, also contain the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. It is therefore recommended to eat salmon, mackerel, herring or tuna once or twice a week for a good omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.


It is also good for health to eat less saturated fat, such as that found in butter, cream, cheese, meat, fried meats and hydrogenated fats. And on the other hand, be aware of more unsaturated fatty acids from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil and the above mentioned linseed oil, walnut oil and rapeseed oil. This benefits the cardiovascular system, inflammatory processes and health in general.


You can find more information about the cardiovascular system on our topic page. Our nutritionist, Nadine, provides several tips and tricks for a healthy and balanced diet that suits you.


Sources:


1. AP Simopoulos et al., The importance of the ratio of omega-6 / omega-3 essential fatty acids, 2002, visited 2021-10-27


2. German Society for Nutrition, Move more and reduce fat intake, 29/04/2003, retrieved 27/10/2021


3. European Food Information Center (EUFIC), The importance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, 2019-03-27, retrieved 2021-10-27


4. VerbraucherService Bayern, omega-3 fatty acids under the magnifying glass, 2 July 2020, retrieved 27 October 2021



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