“Consuming foods with omega 6 fatty acids in proportion to omega 3 fatty acids at about a 2:1 or 1:1 ratio is considered beneficial. However, the Western diet sits at about a 16-20:1 ratio, meaning excessive intake of foods causing inflammation, with little to counteract.”
Inflammation is not always bad. In the short term, local inflammation as a result of a cut, for example, is a good thing. Blood vessels in the area of the injury dilate and allow extra blood flow and circulation. Circulation takes away bad things and brings in more good things so healing can start to happen. This acute response heals. However, chronic inflammation in the body is a bad thing. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a ton of the bad “life threatening” conditions we know of. Arthritis, asthma, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases have all been linked very closely with chronic inflammation.
There are a few large contributing factors to the chronic inflammation in our body. Diet is among the largest of them. In particular, sugars and fats. High added sugar food consumption use has gone up exponentially over the past couple decades. As processed foods lead the way in marketing and availability, raw “whole” foods consumption has plummeted. These previously mentioned “processed foods” are packed full of highly refined carbohydrates because they are cheap. They are fillers and cheap to produce and have excellent shelf life. A box of KD or a can of alpha-ghetti can sit on the shelf for a long, long time versus the fresh chicken breasts or ground beef. We need to be aware of where these sugars are coming from. When we hear “sugar” we immediately think of the sugar bowl or a box of Lucky Charms or something along those lines. However, refined products such as white bread and white rice are also contributing to inflammation. Don’t get me wrong, the rice is a much smarter choice than the Lucky Charms but...
Omega 6 is a fatty acid found in high quantities in processed foods for many of the same reasons as listed above. Health experts suggest keeping the Omega 6 and Omega 3 intake level about equal, or on the low end, near a 2:1 ratio. Because of the extremely high percentage of processed and refined foods western societies (Canada!) eat, most of us are approaching 16:1 on the low end and up to 20:1. This is no good and a sure recipe for long-term chronic inflammation. Take a look at the title picture of this article. There’s a quick list of some foods that are inflammatory and anti-inflammatory. Give it a glance and see from which category you eat more of. It might be time for very simple, but very effective changes in your diet.
If you feel lost in all this diet talk, you aren’t alone. Luckily for us, we have an on-staff expert who can help us out. If you would like help in cleaning up your diet, knowing what to eat and how much to eat, give Rebecca a call or email. She would be more than happy to sit down with you and get you started in the right direction. She can make it as simple as you want and the results may very well save your life.
We don’t need to eat “perfect”. Having some knowledge to be able to help yourself and make the right choices will go a long ways in reducing inflammation and improving overall health. Start small and make the changes habit. Then keep the ball rolling!