Monday, January 19, 2009

Asthma and Diet: Omega-3 vs Omega-6


Some evidence shows the escalation may be related to a shift in dietary intake of fatty acids. Western diets have lower levels of antioxidants (fruits and vegetables), lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids (oily fish), and higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids (margarine, vegetable oils, etc.). These dietary imbalances have inflammatory consequences in the body that may be related to the rise in asthma.

A higher intake of omega-6 fatty acids causes cell-signaling processes that result in inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids shift the processes in the body away from inflammation. In this way, omega-3 fatty acids can help to modulate a component of the asthmatic mechanism.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Asthma and Diet: Omega-3 vs Omega-6


Another reason to stay away from margarine and vegetable oils. Olive oil has the "theoretically" right ratio of the two:

More excerpt from:

Olive Oil contains the two essential fatty acids. There is currently debate about how much omega-3 versus omega-6 one should have in their diet. The two fatty acids compete for space in the cell membranes. Studies show that there are benefits and risks to too much of either. While more of the omega-3 alpha Linolenic acid can help prevent heart disease, studies have suggested it may increase prostate cancer and macular degeneration7. According to the Merck Manual, an authoritative medical text, essential fatty acids should make up 1-2% of the dietary calories for adults with a suggested ratio of 10:1 for omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids.

Olive oil is about 10% linoleic acid (an omega-6 oil) and about 1% linolenic acid (an omega-3 oil), therefore the ratio is 10:1

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