Eating for Health Omega 3 vs Omega 6 Fatty Acids: What's the Difference?

Published on August 8th, 2014 | by Liz Thompson


Omega 3 vs Omega 6 Fatty Acids: What’s the Difference?

Omega 3 vs Omega 6 Fatty Acids: What's the Difference?

Every wondered what the difference is between omega 3 vs omega 6 fatty acids? Here’s a quick lesson.

I’ve been taking Rise app for a test drive these past couple of weeks and, to my surprise, have learned a few things. Not that I went into this experience thinking I knew everything about nutrition and healthy eating, but after years of researching healthful diet and lifestyle, felt I had little left to learn. About my own personal diet, anyway.

Well, I was wrong.

Two major things I found out through the nutritionist I am working with, Anar, is that I need to get more protein and fiber into my diet. Also, I could really stand to up the strength training. Being a carb lover and cardio junky, it makes sense that I am lacking in the areas of protein and strength training.

Related: Eat Your Way to Healthy Skin, What the Flax? Why You Need this Super Seed

After a few days of higher protein/fewer carbs I was feeling pretty darn sluggish. As in, I kind of wanted to go curl up in a ball, make everyone quit talking to me, and take a nap. Like all day long. Not good. I decided I needed some carbs and made switches like swapping turkey and cheese for oatmeal. Remember how we talked about creating a plan that works for YOU. Ya, that is huge.

Another thing I learned – omega-6 fatty acids are not your friend. Maybe you already knew this. I did not. You always hear about needing to get more omega-3 essential fatty acids in your diet. So I thought omega-6s would be just as good if not better. Double the fun, right? But there’s a big difference in omega 3 vs omega 6.

Omega-6s are a completely different animal than omega-3s. Where omega-3s improve your heart, skin, and joint health, omega-6s cause inflammation. And since we know that inflammation is pretty much the recipe to ill health and disease, omega-6s are definitely not essential in maintaining good health.

In our western diet we get lots of omega 6 and not enough omega 3s, when we get too much omega 6 it does lead to inflammation.   ~Anar Allidina

So where are they and how do we get rid of them? Omega-6 fatty acids are found in refined oils and the foods that contain them. Fast and processed foods are high in omega-6s, and our western diets are filled with that stuff.

To keep omega-3s high vs omega-6s low cut down on consumption of processed foods and be sure to include olive oil, walnuts, flax, and pumpkin seeds in your diet.

There. Hope you too learned something new today.

Pumpkin Seed photo via Shutterstock

A version of this article originally ran at Feelgood Style. Republished here with permission.

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About the Author

I am an organic beauty expert, writer, and mom of two young environmentalists who can already spot a toxic product when they see one. Read more about me at Organic Beauty, and find me on , Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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