Nutrition as Medicine: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • When you are dealing with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), you can often feel like your GI tract is controlling your life.  The chronic cycle of flare ups and medications can be daunting.  Before you let your frustration get the best of you, check out my new series of blogs designed to help you heal your body from the inside out.

    While there is no known cure for IBD, there are things you can do to help your body work at an optimal level.  These are what many people might call "natural remedies."  I like to call it taking advantage of every "natural anti-inflammatory."  Nutrition as medicine!

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    The first natural anti-inflammatory you should have in your diet are omega-3 fatty acids.  These have many benefits in protecting against a host of serious illnesses including heart disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases like IBD.  Unfortunately, most Americans do not get enough omega 3s in their diet.

    Most Americans get more omega 6s than omega 3s.  In fact, the ratio in excess of 10 to 1.  An overabundance of omega 6s can increase inflammation and work against the good properties of the omega 3s.  In order to get the most benefit from the omega 3s, you have to both increase omega-3 rich foods and decrease foods high in omega 6s.  This why just taking a supplement is not always beneficial.  You have to have the big picture to fight inflammation effectively.

    Some foods that have a good ratio of omega 6s to 3s are flaxseeds, omega-3 enriched eggs, edamame, wild rice, nuts, canola oil, certain beans and seafood.  The main reason Americans have too much omega 6s can be traced to an over consumption of vegetable oils.  Read labels: these oils are snuck into many of your favorite convenience foods.  Aim to get one to four times more omega 3s than 6s and you'll be off to a good start.

    Get those ratios right and you can help eliminate inflammation!

Published On: February 01, 2014