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Balancing omega fats.

Dear Dr. SerVaas:

Regarding a previous response to a question about omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, you noted the importance of balancing these two nutrients. However, there was no indication of how to balance them. How do we achieve a proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, or perhaps the question should be "What is the proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3?"

Margaret Johnson

Black Diamond, Washington

For optimum health, researchers suggest we consume about four times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s.

Unfortunately, the typical American diet tends to contain up to 30 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, an imbalance that scientists believe contributes significantly to the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory disorders in the United States and other developed countries.

To lower your omega-6 intake, you need to avoid polyunsaturated vegetable-based oils in such things as margarines, salad dressings, processed foods, and mayonnaise.

To boost omega-3 intake, eat a variety of fish at least twice a week. Flaxseeds and foods made with flax flour, flax meal, and flax oil add omega-3s to your diet, too.

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Title Annotation:Reader Mail
Author:Martin, Sara
Publication:Medical Update
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
Words:234
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