What is the difference between Omega-3 and Omega-6

Published At: 29 January 2020 , 04:13 PM

Everyone knows why Vitamin C, Vitamin A, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium are needed, as well as what foods they contain. However, not everyone knows why Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are required and in which products the most are Omega-3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. We decided to fill this gap and talk about Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 - what is the difference between them

Omega-3 and omega-6 acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are not produced by the human body - that is, foods rich in these elements must include in the diet.

Omega-3 acids are necessary for the health of the heart and blood vessels, immunity, emotional state, skin condition. Omega-6 acids are useful for neuralgia, inflammation, joint diseases, high blood pressure.

Most omega-3 acids found in fish and seafood, omega-6 acids are found in vegetable fats and many vegetables — also, a lot of Omega-6 acids found in fast food products, fried meat, mayonnaise. Therefore, many people, as a rule, do not lack Omega-6 acids and do not consume enough Omega-3 acids.

Separate studies have shown that for most people, it is essential to reduce the amount of omega-6 acids and increase the amount of omega-3 acids. When a person consumes too few Omega-3 acids and too many Omega-6 acids, it can lead to such effects as inflammation, high cholesterol, eating disorders, allergies, joint and muscle pain, depression, cognitive impairment.

According to the researchers, the optimal ratio of Omega-6 acids and Omega-3 acids is from 4 to 1 to 1 to 4, whereas in the modern world, this ratio can be 16 to 1. However, these data require further research.

It can assume that such a skew (too many omega-6 acids) occurs due to the consumption of foods with a lot of vegetable fats: mayonnaise, store sauces, fast food products (french fries, for example), confectionery (muffins, cookies, chocolate bars, crackers).

This does not mean that you need to exclude omega-6 acids from your diet altogether - it just means that you need to reduce the number of foods that contain a lot of omega-6 acids. That is, if you want to be healthy, eat less mayonnaise and fast food, and more - vegetables and fruits, dairy and sour-milk products, fish and seafood.

Products containing omega-3 and omega-6 acids

Since Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids are essential in combination, we have made a list of products in which Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids are in the optimal ratio (that is, more Omega-3, less Omega-6).

Red caviar and seafood: crab meat, cuttlefish, lobster, mussels, oysters, octopus, clams, lobsters.

Fresh and canned fish: sea bass, cod, pollock, tuna, trout, herring, salmon, hake, etc.

Fish and seafood are a necessary component of a healthy person’s diet. The fish contains many vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the normal functioning of the body. Also, fish is a high protein product about why protein is needed and where to get it.

Fish oil. This product, unloved by many since childhood, is beneficial, including due to the content of omega-3 and omega-6 acids.

Green vegetables: spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce. We have already written more than once about how green leafy vegetables are useful. Spinach, broccoli and other green abundant vegetable cane cooked many delicious and healthy meals: salads, vegetable casseroles ( casserole, quiche, lasagna, ziti ), pancakes, smoothies to dairy products. You can make delightful summer soup with ayran from broccoli.

Tropical fruits: papaya, kiwi, mango, cantaloupe (a type of melon). Fortunately for us, today it is easy to buy any, even the most exotic, fruits and vegetables. And what could be better than a milkshake or kefir smoothie with mango?

Flax seeds and Spanish sage seeds. Flax seeds and chia seeds (or Spanish sage) contain not only Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids, but also many other useful substances. Flax seeds or Spanish sage can add to dairy products and smoothies.

Legumes. Also, Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids are found in plants: Turkish beans, common beans, etc.

Herbal seasonings: peppermint, thyme, marjoram, basil, oregano.

Beneficial omega-3 acids found in milk and dairy products such as yoghurt. 

Omega-3 and Omega-6 in oils of vegetable and animal origin

Foods that contain a lot of Omega-6 acids are vegetable oils, mayonnaise and store sauces, ready-made foods based on vegetable fats (chips, popcorn), fast food products (french fries, nuggets), and pastries made with vegetable fats.

Everyone knows that mayonnaise, fast food products, chips and chocolate bars are junk food. With vegetable oils, everything is not so clear.

Vegetable oils contain both Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids but in different proportions. For example, in sunflower, corn and soybean oil contains a lot of omega-6 acids and almost no omega-3 acids - that is, the amount of these vegetable oils in the diet should be limited. And, on the contrary, there are relatively few acids in olive oil and omega-6 butter, that is, it is worth giving preference to these products.

It believed that linseed oil is beneficial (due to the optimal ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6), but it oxidizes quickly, as a result of which it can even be harmful to health. Therefore, when buying flaxseed oil, please pay attention that it is in a lightproof container of small volume, produced no more than six months ago, and store it for no more than 30 days.