You are What You Eat: Getting the Right Balance of Omega-3s and Omega-6s
by Judi Epstein MSN, ARNP
Consuming healthy fats is an important part of supporting a healthy body. And essential fatty acids are important for healthy skin. Since your body
does not naturally make essential fatty acids (EFA), you must get them from the foods you eat.
Essential fatty acids (Omega-3s and Omega- 6s) are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes and are the key elements in a natural skin care diet. Omega-3s and Omega-6s are polyunsaturated fats that help produce the skin’s natural oil barrier and help keep it hydrated. If your skin is dry, inflamed or prone to breakouts you may not be getting enough EFAs in your diet.
Research suggests that increasing your EFAs with Omega- 3s can assist in reducing the inflammation associated with acne, psoriasis, rosacea and eczema. In addition, Omega- 3s can help boost your immunity, reduce symptoms of depression and joint pain, and may also help lower your risk of stroke and heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in the following cold water fish which they obtain from eating algae and plankton: herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and salmon.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in: hemp seeds and oil, chia seeds, flax seeds and oil, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts and eggs.
The standard American diet is often out of balance and ‘heavy’ in Omega 6s which tend to increase inflammation in the body. You can cut down on omega- 6 levels by reducing your consumption of processed and fast foods as well as minimizing your intake of corn, soy and cottonseed oils.
To boost the health of your body and your skin, it’s important to keep your Omega-3s and Omega-6s in balance.
Make it a point to know where your food comes from, know your farmers or grow your own food, read labels and keep it simple, avoid foods that are genetically modified (GMO), try and eat organic or unsprayed fruit and vegetables, organic or free range meat or wild game, and choose smaller wild caught fish that are lower in mercury. (www.ewg.org/safefishlist).
So be mindful of what you eat… and your body will thank you.
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