If you follow me on Facebook, you probably noticed I’ve been posting a lot about GMOs lately.
The more I’m learning about them, the angrier I’m getting. It’s no wonder that autoimmune diseases are on the rise!!!
Do you have any idea what these genetically modified foods are doing to our systems?
Probably not . . .
AND NEITHER DO SCIENTISTS!
And that’s the scariest part of it all.
I was scrolling down my Facebook feed when I came across this post:
My first thought was – this is great! My sister recently decided that she was going to go 100% soy free. Soy, soy lecithin and other by products of soybeans are found in a lot of foods. Neither of us realized it until she started scrutinizing the ingredients of all of our favorite products.
Foods we thought were healthy contained these hidden GMO ingredients.
I started reading the article and was happy with what I was seeing. But then I remembered something I had heard in a school lecture a few weeks back about Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s.
“More and more companies are looking for non-GMO oils; demand is very high for non-GMO,” says Brown whose company’s oils are Non-GMO Project verified. Sunflower oil is also light in taste and appearance, supplies more vitamin E than any other oil, and is non-allergenic, another advantage over soybean oil.” (The Organic, Non-GMO Report)
Upon entering our body, omega 6 fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids are created into eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. Omega 3’s create anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, whereas omega 6’s create pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. I remember hearing Dr. Barry Sears talk in great detail about this process and their reactions in the body. I was FASCINATED with this lecture. When I was in high school I absolutely loved biology. It was one of my favorite classes. Chemistry, not so much. His explanations of all the bonds and the structures of the cells went way over my head, but his detail about how these cells helped regulate the inflammatory reponses in our body did not.
Autoimmune diseases all have an inflammatory factor. Our doctors judge our diseases by our inflammation markers in our blood work and our swollen joints. At one point or another we’ve all been on anti-inflammatories, whether it be an over the counter aspirin or a prescription strength naproxen.
All over the internet you read articles urging you to take fish oil supplements. And they’re right! Omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oils and certain plant and nut oils, create those anti-inflammatory cells in our body which can help reduce our swelling. BUT, along with those fish oil supplements we need to be regulating our omega 6 fatty acids.
Where do omega 6 fatty acids come from?
I came across a great post on Chris Kressner – Let’s Take Back Your Health – Starting Now‘s site. In this post, Chris created the following chart:
The most prevalent sources for these omegas are the oils above. Our bodies need BOTH omega fatty acids to survive. The problem is that the standard western diet is consuming large amounts of omega 6’s and not enough omega 3’s to balance it out. There are a lot of ratios out there regarding the amount of each you should consume. In school we’ve been taught that when talking about autoimmune diseases the best ratio to consume is a 1:1. Omega 6 fatty acids interfere with the health benefits of omega 3’s, therefore if you’re trying to keep a balance of inflammation in your body you’d want them to counterbalance each other.
Chris goes on to state “In plain english, what this means is that the more omega-3 fat you eat, the less omega-6 will be available to the tissues to produce inflammation. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 is neutral. A diet with a lot of omega-6 and not much omega-3 will increase inflammation. A diet of a lot of omega-3 and not much omega-6 will reduce inflammation.” (How too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 is making us sick, Chris Kressner)
Why are we consuming large amounts of Omega 6 fatty acids?
Well, if you notice, corn contains a large amount of omega 6 fatty acids. Back before our food industry dominated our food sources, the animals we consumed grazed on plants and insects found in the wild. Now, our cows are fed corn, our chickens are fed corn, pigs are fed corn – and you don’t even want me to go into what else they’re fed. Since these animals are consuming mass quantities of omega 6 fatty acids, these acids are now passed to us through our hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches and chicken fingers. Before we didn’t get these pro-inflammatory fats from this source and now we do.
And, to make matters worse, all of these oils are then used in the preparation of these foods, they’re used to help preserve packaged foods and so on and so forth.
As you can see, you can’t take one step without being exposed to these fatty acids.
That’s not to say that these fats are bad for you. Like I mentioned before, our bodies need both of these fatty acids. We all need to be cognizant about the amounts of these fats we’re consuming, in relation to each other.
In order to tone down the omega-6 in your diet, you should stop using vegetable oils like sunflower oil, safflower oil, soybean and corn oil, which are all high in omega-6 acids. These oils are also commonly used in most prepackaged, processed foods – yet another reason you should exclude these garbage foods from your diet.
The oils you should include in your diet are fish oil, hemp oil and flax oil, which are high in omega-3s. If you are vegetarian or vegan and want to stay away from fish oil, you can stick to flax and hemp. You can also try algae oil, which is very high in EPA and DHA sources of omega-3.
If you want to do more than just switch out oils in order to level out your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, you can increase your intake of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies and sardines. These fish are all sources of omega-3 fatty acids.”
So back to the Sunflower Oil . . .
It’s awesome that the sunflower industry has been holding their ground and steering clear of GMO seeds. I think that’s absolutely wonderful news! The less genetically modified food we consume, the better off we will be.
But, is sunflower oil healthier and a better alternative?
I think that if you’re steering clear of soy and GMOs it’s a good alternative, but you need to make sure you balance it out with omega 3’s in your diet.
As with anything – everything in moderation!
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!
If you’d like to read more about healthy fats, here are the resources I used for this post, and some other great ones: