Ostensibly everyone these days has heard of Omega 3s at some point in their lives. Promoted by the seafood industry, and rightfully so as fish are high in omega 3s and omega 6s have had a bit of a moment in the spotlight as consumers have shifted to more health-focused diets over the last several years. Additionally, Omega 3s are often incorporated into an expectant mother’s pregnancy supplementation regimen, which we’ll cover below.
Omega-6s, on the other hand, haven’t received the same buzz as their Omega-3 counterparts. Omega-3s and Omega-6s are essential fatty acids that our body needs. It turns out, Omega-6s have just a slightly different structure than their slightly more famous Omega-3 brethren.
This begs the question, though, what exactly are these compounds, how are they related, and how do they benefit mothers and their children?
What Are Omega 3s And Omega 6s?
Well, as I alluded to before, Omega 3s and Omega 6s are essential fatty acids. This means these fatty acids play vital roles in our bodies and conceivably add several health-boosting benefits. Here is the tricky thing about Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, though–our bodies don’t produce them. We must acquire them through diet and, or supplementation.
A healthy balance: How To Consume Omega-3s And Omega-6s
Typically when following a standard North American diet we consume too much rancid Omega-6 (linoleic acid) in our diets and not enough Omega-3s, (linolenic acid) as well as their downstream metabolites (EPA/DHA). A conscious effort must be made to ensure the proper balance of these fatty acids is incorporated into our diets.
Additionally, not all Omega-6s and Omega-3s are created equal. You might’ve heard that Omega-6s can be inflammatory and lead to health issues. Heated, oxidized oils such as sunflower, soybean, safflower, corn, cottonseed, canola, and grapeseed oil contain high levels of Omega-6s, but these are not how you want to consume your Omega-6s.
These oils are not only inflammatory, they contribute to the physical properties of the cell membrane by influencing membrane permeability and therefore the transport functions and ion channels. The fluidity of our cell membranes depends on the type of fatty acids we ingest. That means they are influencing the health of every single one of the trillions of cells that make up who you are.
With that said, let’s look at how to safely and adequately acquire Omega-6s and Omega 3s:
3 Ways To Acquire Omega 3s-And-Omega-6s
1. Go Fish: Omega 3s Are From The Sea
Mackerel are sometimes denoted for their “oily, fishy” taste, and while this might bug chefs and diners, your body will love the oily fat present here. According to Healthline, Mackerel contains 4,107 mg of Omega-3 (EPA/DHA) per serving. Salmon.
Arguably the Omega-3 (EPA/DHA) poster child, also packs a walloping 4,123 mg of Omega-3 per serving. A diet with regular seafood intake is set up nicely to acquire the necessary EPA/DHA that, again, our bodies can’t produce
2. Scrounging For Omega 6s: Walnuts And Seeds
Walnuts are bursting with Omega 6s; they contain 10,800 mg per ounce. Following close behind are a couple of seeds: hemp and sunflower. I recommend adding these to your regular diet via smoothies or salads. They can be a deliciously healthy and easy addition to anyone’s diet. Remember to always consume nuts and seeds raw, never roasted.
3. Supplementation: Let Science Support Your Body
BodyBio’s Balance Oil, which contains the optimal amount of Linoleic acid (Omega 6) and Linolenic acid (Omega 3) for cellular health, is a straightforward method to acquire the proper amounts of Omega 6 and Omega 3 The Omega 6s present here are not heated or processed with hexane.
Bleach or deodorizers which ensures that the most important nutrients are ingested into your system. Balance Oil is uniquely formulated in a proportion of Omega-6s and Omega-3s, which studies propose is optimal for maximum health benefits.
Benefits For Mom And Baby
Holistically, Omega 6s and 3s improve digestive health, liver function, cardiovascular activity, support immunity, and boost the brain. Still, for mothers and their children, there are some additional benefits to consider.
During pregnancy, Omega 6s and 3s consumption are vital in building the fetal brain. A mother must acquire these through her diet or supplementation via her prenatal regimen. Including during pregnancy and moving into post-partum, there is some evidence that essential fatty acids can prevent perinatal depression (which encompasses both states).
After pregnancy, you see the importance of essential fatty acids in infant formula. Most formulas contain a combination of Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils but often contain oxidized vegetable oils such as safflower oil and soybean oil. It is important to read ingredient labels carefully to ensure you are supporting your infant with cellular health-supporting essential fatty acids.
Take It From Me: Diet And Supplementation Are The Way
The most crucial organ in our body, our brain, is 60% fat, so acquiring the proper amount of the essential fatty acids described here is paramount. Mothers are acutely aware of their health during pregnancy, and paying close attention to essential fatty acid consumption is a phenomenal place for a mother to put her attention.
I can say so proudly as I’m now pregnant with my third child. Through my pregnancies, I’ve experienced firsthand the benefits of adequate Omega-3 and Omega-6 supplementation. My mood has been boosted, and I’ve been blessed with beautiful, healthy children.