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The Difference Between Omega-3 and Omega-6

There’s no denying the health benefits of omegas. However, it’s important to understand which omega is right for you and why you need it. For instance, do you need more omega-3 or should you be supplementing with omega-6? Find out here…

Why Do I Need Omegas?

Fatty acids are usually classified as saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated depending on their chemical structure1. Omega-3 and omega-6 are types of polyunsaturated fats. They are essential to our health as they can’t be made in sufficient amounts by the body. In the UK, however, we tend to have an imbalance of both fats due to our diets.

Where Can I Find Omega-3 Fats?

The primary animal sources of Omega-3 is fish oil, so by eating at least two portions of fish a week, making sure one is oily, most of us are able to get enough omega-3 fats in our diet. These can be found in mackerel, kippers, herring, trout, sardines, salmon and fresh tuna.
Other omega-3 sources include soy beans, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts. In addition, pastured eggs, omega-3 enriched eggs, meats from grass-fed animals, grass-fed dairy products, hemp seeds, as well as some vegetables like spinach, Brussel's sprouts and purslane2  are not as high in omega-3, but do contain small amounts.

Where Can I Find Omega-6 Fats?

Omega-6 can be found in vegetable oils such as rapeseed, corn, sunflower and some nuts. As a result, they can be found in many processed foods like pastries and cakes, biscuits, crisps, snacks, takeaways, ready meals, bread margarine and cereal. For this reason it’s unlikely you will need to up your omega-6 levels.
For those that aren’t able to have an omega-rich diet, a supplement like Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil should be considered. This contains the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are important for normal heart and brain function. The beneficial effects for heart function are obtained with an intake of 250mg EPA and DHA per day. For brain function, 250mg DHA per day is needed.

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