Balance, balance, balance…
In the nutrition and wellness world we talk a lot about balance. Balancing calories in with calories out, balancing fluid intake, having a balanced diet, etc.
I have one more balancing act to add to the mix. Balancing omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
Both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are essential, meaning our body can not produce them so we need to rely on food sources. Both are important in their own right. Omega 6 fatty acids are necessary for hormone production, inflammation (a good thing when talking about immune response), and blood clotting. Conversely, omega 3 fatty acids are important for decreasing inflammation, lowering triglyceride levels and risks of developing diseases such as heart disease.
There is a fine line, an equilibrium that must be met for optimal health.
Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (SAD) has an overabundance of omega 6 fatty acids. Why you ask? Because of our dependence on processed foods and fast food restaurants!!! Omega 6 fatty acids are found in corn oil, peanut oil and safflower oil to name a few. These are all inexpensive oils that are used heavily in cookies, crackers and packaged snack foods. Too much omega 6 in a diet can lead to heart disease, auto-immune disease, cancer, obesity, depression and other mood disorders. All these disease states stem from inflammation. The SAD is said to have an omega 6 to 3 ratio of 10:1 or 20:1 when it should ideally be at 2:1 to 4:1, that’s a huge difference!
So, how to bring your omega 6 to omega 3 ratio back in balance?
First things first…cut out the junk! Stay away from those drive through windows and perfectly packaged ring-dings. Second, swap out your oils. Use olive oil instead of vegetable oils when cooking. Third, pump up the omega 3 superfoods like chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, green leafy vegetables and sea vegetables.
This smoothie recipe will deliver a healthy dose of omega 3’s from the hemp seeds, flax seeds and spinach. Plus, it tastes good!
Blueberry Crumble Smoothie
(makes 2 servings)
2 cups almond milk
1 frozen banana
2/3 to 1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
2 dates, pitted
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla
and a large handful of baby spinach for good measure!
~blend and enjoy~