That’s a pretty big statement, however it is our transgression away from what we are genetically designed to eat as humans that is getting us into trouble. Our diet, among other things, is an ‘inflammatory’ diet which in turn can provide the spark to initiate many of the chronic lifestyle diseases crippling society today.
One such example is that of the Fatty Acid (EFA) intake balance of our diet. Our body can produce most fatty acids, with the exception of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. These must be obtained from our diet. The fatty acids are essential for :
- Formation of healthy cell membranes
- Proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system
- Proper thyroid and adrenal activity
- Hormone production
- Regulation of blood pressure, liver function, immune and inflammatory responses
- Regulation of blood clotting: Omega-6 FAs encourage blood clot formation, whereas Omega-3 oil reduces clotting. The ideal is to achieve a balance between omega-6 and omega-3 FAs
- Crucial for the transport and breakdown of cholesterol
- Support healthy skin and hair
Going back in time, the ratio of these EFA’s was 1:1. That is, we would consume one part Omega 3 to one part Omega 6. With the evolution of our western diet, this ratio has become unbalanced. So unbalanced that we are consuming 15 – 20 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3’s.
The result…our body becomes inflamed and chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis and asthma starts to set in. The answer is simple, lower the ratio. However this is where things become complicated. As a high-end consumer along the food chain, we too consume what the animals that we consume had also consumed.
To get great omega 3, we will often taught go to consume fish such as salmon. The wilder the fish, the better. In Australia nearly all salmon is farmed, and therefore it is fed food (according to Tassal) containing ‘fish meal, fish oil, land animal ingredients such as blood meal, and vegetable ingredients such as grain.’ The feed also includes a “nature identical”, synthetic version of astaxanthin, which gives salmon flesh its bright orange colour.’
Tell me, how many salmon eat land animals and grain as part of their natural diet? Is our quest as a consumer in following proper dietary guidelines leading us up the garden path and creating an even greater long term health problem? For the best sources of Omega 3 FA’s still look to fish such as mackerel, herring, sardine, anchovies, tuna and salmon – wild caught is best; walnuts; flax and chia seeds; and egg yolks PLUS cut down (or cut out) your Omega 6 FA from grain products – bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, cakes, muffins (they give you muffin tops!); vegetable oil; PLUS animals fed on grain (look for grass fed or finished).