Omega 6 Deficiency? Top 10 Omega 6 Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
What is Omega 6 Fatty Acids?
Omega-6 and omega-3 are both polyunsaturated fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body. This means that we have to obtain them from the food we eat and from supplements. Omega-6 is essential for optimal health and it is needed by the brain to improve its function. Omega-6 can be found in seeds and nuts, vegetable oils, cookies, cakes, dairy, eggs, mayonnaise, processed pork, beef, and chicken. It is important to choose which omega 6 foods to eat because not all of them are healthy and nutritious.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Benefits
In order to understand more about why the body needs omega 6 foods, here are some of its important benefits.
Omega 6 Fights Inflammation
Inflammation in the body is not good for your health. Most chronic and serious diseases like cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease are all inflammatory diseases. Studies have found that eating healthy fats like omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are good for reducing inflammation. Gamma linolenic acid, which is a type of omega-6 fatty acids, can be metabolized by the body to make it an anti-inflammatory nutrient. This makes omega-6 fatty acids a critical component in avoiding serious diseases and building up your health.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Omega-6 can help reduce symptoms of high blood pressure. One study has shown positive results for a group of people who took blackcurrant oil and experienced a lowering of their diastolic blood pressure. Another study shows that taking primrose oil can reduce systolic blood pressure. Omega-6 or gamma linolenic acid can also be combined with fish oils rich in omega-3 to keep your blood pressure stable.
Promotes Bone Health
Taking omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids can have positive improvements in building bone health, especially in the hips and spine. Studies also confirm that polyunsaturated fatty acids can be good for your skeletal formation as you age.
Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
According to the American Heart Association, linoleic acid can help lower the risk of coronary heart disease. Health experts recommend avoiding saturated fats and substitute them with vegetable oils that are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Eases Rheumatoid Arthritis
Primrose oil, which contains 7 to 10 percent gamma linolenic acid, can help ease the swelling and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Further studies about primrose oil suggest that taking about 540 milligrams to 2.8 grams per day can fully treat rheumatoid arthritis. However, you have to consult your doctor first before taking any type of medicine.
Omega 6 Deficiency
Omega 6 fatty acids are prevalent in the modern diet and there are so many choices when it comes to omega 6 foods. However, there are still some people who suffer from omega 6 deficiency or essential fatty acid deficiency. When you suffer from omega 6 deficiency, the proper functioning of your body is very much affected such as your hair and skin maintenance, reproduction, and metabolism. Since omega 6 can only be found in the foods you eat, this type of deficiency only means that you are not consuming enough omega 6 foods. If you don’t get enough of this essential fatty acid, then you are increasing the risk of having serious health problems.
The first signs of omega 6 deficiency can be seen on the skin, hair, and nails. If you think you are not consuming too much omega-6 fatty acids, just look at the condition of your skin, hair, and nails. They are the best indicator of the level of omega-6 fatty acids in your body. Here are some of the major signs and symptoms of omega 6 deficiency:
- You begin having dry skin, flaky skin, or scaly skin.
- Your fingertips begin to peel and crack.
- Dullness and variation of color of the skin.
- Brittle and splitting fingernails.
- Dull looking nails, which means lack of surface shine.
- Your fingernails grow slowly
- Thick and cracked calluses begin to appear.
- Hair becoming dry, unruly, and brittle.
- You experience drying of the mouth and throat.
- You have dry eyes.
- Menstrual cramps.
- Breast pain before menstruation.
- Always thirsty.
- Excessive ear wax.
- Joint pains and stiffness
- Allergies like eczema, hay fever, asthma, and hives.
- You crave for fatty foods.
Those who are at risk of omega 6 fatty acid deficiency are the people with allergies. Some of the most serious complications of this deficiency lead to kidney damage, heart arrhythmia, inability to heal infections, growth problems, sterility, miscarriage, and behavior problems. Treating this deficiency is not as simple as just increasing your diet of omega 6 foods. There should be a balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids in order to treat this deficiency. According to the health experts, a 2 to 1 ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids should be maintained
Top 10 Omega 6 Foods
Here are the best omega 6 foods you have to include in your regular diet before you try taking any supplements.
Safflower oil is considered as the best source of omega-6 fatty acids. It contains 74.6 grams of omega-6 per 100 grams. For one tablespoon of safflower oil, you get about 10.4 grams of omega-6 fatty acids. Sunflower oil contains about 10 grams of omega-6 per one tablespoon, while corn oil can provide you with 8.8 grams per one tablespoon. Another vegetable oil with good amounts of omega 6 is soybean oil with 7.7 grams per one tablespoon. Other omega-6 vegetable oils that you can consume are grape seed oil, wheat germ oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, palm oil, and olive oil.
Nuts and Seeds
When it comes to seeds, the best source of omega-6 fatty acids are sunflower seeds. Consuming 100 grams of sunflower seeds can provide you with 34 grams of omega-6 fatty acids. One cup of sunflower seeds contains about 46 grams of omega-6 fatty acids. Among the nuts, walnuts have the highest omega-6 content with 9 grams per ¼ cup of serving. Sesame seeds contain 7 grams per ounce, while pine nuts have also 7 grams per ounce. Other nuts and seeds that have good amounts of omega-6 fatty acids are pecan nuts, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. Aside from being rich in omega-6, nuts and seeds are also high in fiber, which makes them a heart-healthy food.
Cookies, Cakes, and Pastries
Let us start with everyone’s favorite, Chocolate Chip Cookies. Eating one chocolate chip cookie can provide you with about 1 gram of omega-6 fatty acids. If you’re going to make brownies, one piece offers 8.4 grams of omega-6. A delicious slice of chocolate cake contains around 2.5 grams of omega-6. Puff pastry per piece is 7.8 grams, while a piece of blueberry muffin has 2.1 grams of omega-6. One piece of Twix bar has 564 milligrams of omega-6. Other cakes and pastries that contain omega-6 include Danish pastry, Graham crackers, and shortbread.
Snacks with Omega-6 Fatty Acids
As mentioned earlier, the modern diet has a wide variety of omega-6 foods, and many of them are found in snacks. Most snacks today contain omega-6 such as corn chips, barbeque chips, and potato chips. However, they are high in sodium and can be unhealthy if consumed regularly in large amounts. For a package or 32 grams of cheese flavored corn puffs, you can get 6 grams of omega-6 fatty acids. Munching on corn chips per ounce will provide you with 5 grams of omega-6. An ounce of potato chips contains 5 grams, while popcorn has about 6.3 grams of omega-6. The amount of omega-6 in these snacks depends mostly on the oil or fat that was used to make them.
Fast Foods with Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Most people love fast foods, but health experts usually recommend avoiding these foods because of its high calorie and sodium content. Onion rings from a popular fast food chain contain about 10 grams of omega-6 fatty acids per small serving. French fries usually have about 12.4 grams of omega-6, while chicken nuggets have 13 grams per serving. Hash browns per serving contain about 13.5 grams of omega-6 and a tuna sandwich has 28 grams. It can be very tempting to eat fast foods regularly, but remember that they can be very fattening and may result in tremendous weight gain.
Mayonnaise and Other Salad Dressings
If you are low in omega-6 fatty acids, you can always have mayonnaise on your sandwiches or use them as a salad dressing. One tablespoon of mayonnaise contains about 5.5 grams of omega-6 fatty acids. You can also use other salad dressings that can add more nutrients and fatty acids to your salads. French dressing contains 2.9 grams of omega-6 per tablespoon. Caesar dressing offers 4.3 grams of omega-6 per tablespoon, while peppercorn dressing has about 3.8 grams. Sesame seed dressing contains 3.4 grams and honey mustard dressing is 3 grams per tablespoon. Other dressings rich in omega-6 are thousand islands, Italian dressing, and light mayonnaise.
Sausage and Other Pork Products
When it comes to pork, sausage has the highest amount of omega-6 fatty acids. Cooked sausages contain about 3.6 grams of omega-6 fatty acids per 3-ounces. Ham comes in second at about 5.4 grams of omega-6 per 3-ounces. Bacon has 4.8 grams of omega-6, while cooked ground pork has 3.3 grams per 3-ounces. Pork salami and spareribs both have 2.7 grams of omega-6 per 3-ounces, followed by pork loin with 2.2 grams and pork chop with 1.7 grams per 3-ounces. However, keep in mind that bacon, pork salami, and other processed pork products are high in saturated fats and cholesterol, which is not good if you are going to eat them every day.
Butter has the highest amount of omega-6 when it comes to dairy products. One stick of butter has 2.7 grams of omega-6 fatty acids. Processed cheese is also high in omega-6 with 1.8 grams per 1-ounce. Parmesan cheese contains 293 milligrams per 1-ounce, while cheddar cheese has 280 milligrams per 1-ounce. Gruyere offers about 364 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids per 1-ounce and cream cheese provides 289 milligrams per 1-ounce. Hard goat’s cheese is 237 milligrams per ounce. And whole milk is about 589 milligrams of omega-6 per cup. Dairy products such as butter and cheese can be easily included in your daily diet to add more nutrients and omega-6 fatty acids to your food.
Chicken thighs are the best part if you want to consume more omega-6 fatty acids. One cooked chicken thigh with skin on contains about 3.7 grams of omega-6 fatty acids. This is followed by the turkey bacon, which has 5.3 grams of omega-6 per 3-ounces. Ground turkey with 15 percent fat has about 3.2 grams of omega-6, while chicken wings with skin offer 3.9 grams of omega-6 per 3-ounces. Turkey meat with skin on provides about 1.6 grams of omega-6 fatty acids. Aside from omega-6, poultry foods like chicken and turkey provide your body with protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B and E.
Beef and Lamb
If you are cooking beef, you should go for the short ribs. Cooked beef short ribs have about 2 grams of omega-6 fatty acids per 100 grams. If you’re going to consume one piece of short ribs or about 289 grams, it will provide you with 5.9 grams of omega-6. For a cooked lamb meat, you can get about 3.3 grams of omega-6 fatty acids per 3-ounce serving. Red meat like beef and lamb is also a great source of protein, iron, zinc, creatine, and vitamin B12. It is recommended to have a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. According to the health experts, it is suggested to have a 2-to-1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids to gain the best health benefits. Include these omega 6 foods into your regular diet, but always keep it in moderation, especially when it comes to some of the snacks, sweets, and processed foods mentioned in the list. You can also find some recipes online containing a lot of ingredients that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids.