Fatty Acids Omega-3 Washington DC

According to researchers and health experts, the correct ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 5 (or less) to 1 if you want to reap the health benefits of omega-3, including lowering your risk for diabetes and arthritis or helping to remove plaque from your arteries.

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George Washington Center for Integrative Medicine
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Get Your Fats Straight

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The key to healthier eyes and a healthier you is having the right balance of fats in your diet—especially the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. Although we need both, the typical American diet is overloaded with omega-6 because it’s found in processed foods made with sunflower, corn, cottonseed, or soybean oils. According to researchers and health experts, the correct ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 5 (or less) to 1 if you want to reap the health benefits of omega-3, including lowering your risk for diabetes and arthritis or helping to remove plaque from your arteries.

A new study further underscores the importance of this delicate balance by describing the role these essential oils play in reducing the risk of developing dry eye syndrome. Millions of people suffer from the symptoms of this condition—scratchy eyes, dry eyes, gritty eyes, and sensitivity to light—but it often goes undiagnosed because it’s easily mistaken for other problems, such as allergies.

In the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, women aged 45 to 84 filled out a food intake questionnaire. The women with omega-3-rich diets were 17 percent less likely to contract dry eye syndrome, whereas those with the highest ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 in their diets showed greater risk.

According to published reports, the best way to make sure you’re maintaining a healthy ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 is to eat plenty of oily fish such as sardines and wild salmon, and use flaxseed or walnut oil on your salads. Also cut back on other oils, along with packaged or prepared foods. Your eyes and your entire body will thank you.

Sarah Forbes Keough

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