There’s a lot of talk in the media about needing plenty of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, but not so much about Omega 6 Fatty Acids. Those that do know about Omega 6 Fatty Acids, are generally confused about how much they need, where to get enough Omega Fatty Acids from and how to balance Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids. So let’s clarify this tricky balancing act!

How Much Omega-3 Fatty Acids Do You Need?

The first thing to realise is that both Omega-3 and Omega-6 are types of essential fatty acids which means we cannot make them ourselves and have to obtain them from our diet. Hence the importance of understanding where to get them from and how much of these Fatty Acids you need daily.

In many diets, there are few daily sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. The main foods to get Omega 3 from are the fat of cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel. This is not something the average person eats on a regular basis and therefore leading to Omega 3 deficiency.

spiced mackerel recipe

Tasty spiced mackerel recipe from BBC Food


How Much Omega-6 Fatty Acids Do You Need?

Unlike  Omega-3, sources of omega-6 fatty acids are numerous in modern diets. They are found in nuts and seeds and refined vegetable oils, which is found in many prepared foods. This abundance in Omega-6 intake, means many people get too much Omega-6 and too little Omega-3.

According to Dr. Weil, “this dietary imbalance may explain the rise of such diseases as asthma, coronary heart disease, many forms of cancer, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases”.

How to Balance Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids?

It’s important to reduce the intake of Omega 6 by reducing consumption of processed and fast foods and polyunsaturated vegetable oils. In order to increase your intake of Omega 3, just eat more oily fish or take fish oil supplements if you’re not a fan of fish. You could also increase consumption of walnuts, flax seeds, and omega-3 fortified eggs.

Here’s a video we found explaining this in further detail from Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, the lead clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Public Health.

Hope this is useful – please leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!