Where it's ALL about food!

Toggle Navigation

Omega-3 and Omega 6

Yellow Perch with Omega-3 and Omega 6

Omega 3 for Heart Health

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish and reduce the risk of heart disease by checking the tendency of blood to clot, discouraging the buildup of plaque in blood vessels and lowering the level of blood-thickening lipids called triglycerides. They also ease the pain for some sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and may impede the development of breast tumors.

Taking a daily omega-3 supplement could reduce the risk of dying from heart failure, in which the heart gradually loses its ability to pump blood. Those were the findings of Italian researchers who conducted a multi-center study of almost 7000 heart failure patients, who were given either a placebo or one gram of omega-3s a day for four years.

Those who received the supplement were hospitalized less and fewer of them died. Though the difference was not statistically significant, the researchers saw promise because benefit occurred in people who already had tried conventional therapies that failed.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 (Essential Fatty Acids) are good for making cell membranes, hormones, and prostaglandins. Fatty acids can also lower blood pressure and triglycerides, an artery-clogging fat.

Get Omega 3 and 6 from Hemp

Shelled hempseed tastes like sunflower seeds but boasts an amazing 36 percent omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, plus 31 percent complete protein -- even higher than beef. See: Hemp.

Recent studies have backed up omega-3 fatty acids' heart benefits. Wang et al. (2006) conducted a systematic review of studies and found that increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements reduced the rates of mortality from all causes, cardiac and sudden death,and possibly stroke.

Two small, weekly servings of fatty fish should provide the needed amount of Omega-3s you need for a healthy heart.

Where you get Omega-3 and Omega-6: Vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed, walnut, corn, soybean, and safflower oils, hemp, fish, and fish oil supplements.

Herbs and spices that contain omega-3 are black pepper, cayenne, chili, cinnamon, ginger, mustard seed, turmeric, sage, thyme, cumin, allspice, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, peppermint, curry, garlic, paprika, tarragon, caraway seed, chives and saffron.

Herbs and spices that contain omega-6 are black pepper, cayenne, chili, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, sage, thyme, cumin, coriander, allspice, fennel, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, peppermint, curry, garlic, paprika, nutmeg, tarragon, anise, caraway seed, chives, saffron, parlsey and chervil. (Source: Nutrition Data)

Note: Flaxseed oil is a great source of omega-3s, but not for cooking because heat destroys them.

Fighting Aches With Omega-3

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found that nearly two-thirds of patients suffering from chronic neck and back pain stopped needing anti-inflammatory pain pills after taking fish-oil pills for 20 to 30 days. The key may be omega-3s ability to fight inflammation. But you do not necessarily have to take the pills. Cold-water ocean fish (salmon, mackerel, herring) and lake trout are the best sources of anti-flammatory omega-3's.

Omega-3 Almond Butter

3 cups of raw almonds
1/2 cup of cold-pressed flaxseed oil

Put the raw Almonds into a food processor bowl and start to chop. While chopping, slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of the flax oil into the nuts. Blend until almond butter reaches the desired level of smoothness.

Too Much Omega-6?

Bottle of oil Can you get too much omega-6? Many experts say the American diet is too high in omega-6s while too low in omega-3. The problem with an imbalance is omega-3 and omega 6 compete with each other for certain enzymes. When omega-6 prevails, they increase production of hormone-like compounds called eicosanoids, which trigger elevated levels of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, compounds linked to inflammation, a suspected cause of many chronic illnesses - including heart disease and autoimmune disorders, maybe even depression. Yet, there is little solid evidence to support the theory that higher intakes of omega 6 will increase your risk of heart disease, or that if your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 could be harmful to your health, so don't sweat this one.

Omega 3 Advice

The best way to get omega-3s in the amount you need for good health is to eat at least two servings of fish (especially fatty fish) twice a week. Keep in mind, light tuna, canned salmon and sardines are all excellent choices for omega-3 content, safety, sustainability and affordability. If you don't eat fish (or not enough), supplements offer a good alternative.

Mood Swings, Depression and Omega-3

Mood swings can lead to bring-on-the-brownies moments that will sabotage your efforts to lose weight. Omega-3s may help by stabilizing your moods, according to research at the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center. It is suggested you take a high-quality supplement for 30 days. If you do not notice an improvement, increase your dosage. Another form of omega-3s known as DHA makes up 25 percent of your body's brain fat and manages the production and flow of the feel-good chemical serotonin. People who battle depression seem to be DHA-deficient. Researchers believe a DHA supplement may be a gentler and more effective alternative to anti-depressants.

Fish Sources of Fat

Fish sources (and amounts) of Omega-3's (6 ounces unless otherwise noted): Cook Fish

  • Salmon, Atlantic, farmed - 3.7 grams
  • Salmon, Atlantic, wild - 3.1 grams
  • Sardines, in sardine oil (3-ounces) - 2.8 grams
  • Salmon, coho, farmed - 2.2 grams
  • Trout, rainbow farmed - 2.0 grams
  • Salmon, coho, wild - 1.8 grams
  • Herring, kippered (3 ounces) 1.8 grams
  • Trout, rainbow, wild - 1.7 grams
  • Swordfish - 1.4 grams
  • Sardines, in tomato sauce (3 ounces) - 1.4 grams
  • Herring, pickled - 1.2 grams
  • Oysters (3 ounces) - 1.1 grams
  • Mackerel, canned (3 ounces) - 1.0 grams
  • Pollock - 0.9 grams
  • Flounder or sole - 0.9 grams
  • Whiting - 0.9 grams
  • Rockfish - 0.8 grams
  • Halibut - 0.8 grams
  • Sardines, in vegetable oils (3 ounces) - 0.8 grams
  • Tuna, white, canned (3 ounces) - 0.7 grams
  • Scallops - 0.6 grams
  • Perch, ocean - 0.6 grams
  • Cod, Pacific - 0.5 grams
  • Tuna, fresh - 0.5 grams
  • Crab, blue (3 ounces) - 0.4 grams
  • Haddock - 0.4 grams
  • Catfish, wild - 0.4 grams
  • Fish sas (six) - 0.4 grams
  • Cod, Atlantic - 0.3 grams
  • Crab, Dungeness (3 ounces) - 0.3 grams
  • Shrimp (3 ounces) - 0.3 grams
  • Catfish, farmed - 0.3 grams
  • Tuna, light, canned (3 ounces) - 0.2 grams
  • Clams (3 ounces) - 0.2 grams
  • Crayfish (3 ounces) - 0.2 grams
  • Lobster (3 ounces) - 0.1 grams

Share This Page

Back to Essential Nutrients