Saturated fats, unsaturated fats, omega-3s, omega-6s… there are many different types of fats to know and learn, and each of them is important to include in your diet in the pursuit of maintaining optimal health.

What are omega-3s?

Without wading too deep into the science, it is helpful to know that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the two main sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). They are termed “essential” because we can only get them by eating foods or supplements that contain them.

Humans lack the enzyme to break other, more common fatty acids (eg: saturated fatty acids) into these PUFAs. While both are necessary to our health, Americans’ diets on average tend to have far more omega-6s and fewer omega-3s than is optimal. Health professionals recommend that people intake omega-6s and omega-3s at a ratio of 2:1, but it is estimated that the “average” American diet can have up to 15 times more omega-6s than omega-3s.

 

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