Food truly is medicine. This is a concept I discussed with Dr Terry Wahls in episode 019 of my podcast, Unstress. When we eat food it breaks down into amino acids, glucose and lipids. These molecules are then used to fuel our body. They form the building blocks of cells, provide us with energy and support our immune system. We are literally what we eat. I think this quote sums it up beautifully:
“ The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison” – Ann Wigmore
The healing nature of food is something Dr Terry Wahls discussed throughout episode 019, especially in relation to treating and managing her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I really encourage you to listen to this episode as you will discover how essential good quality food really is to our health.
Food as medicine is something I want to dive deeper into in the coming months. My message is very much about encouraging everyone to take control of their health and I believe that eating nourishing foods is an incredibly important part of that.
One nutrient we frequently hear about is the importance of essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 and omega-6.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 are important for our health and because our body can’t make them ourselves we must obtain these nutrients through the diet. Furthermore they are important fatty acids for the body’s metabolism and building membrane structures.
Omega-6 helps to:
Omega-3 helps to:
We need both these essential fatty acids in a balanced ratio to promote inflammation when we need it and support anti-inflammatory effects when we need that. For most people an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio should be 4:1, with some experts even suggesting a ratio of 1:1 is ideal. Unfortunately with our heavily processed diets that ratio looks more like 12:1 or even up to 25:1. We are consuming far too much omega-6 rich foods, resulting in too little omega-3.
Risks associated with too little omega-3 include:
While it is important to increase our consumption of omega-3 rich foods, it is also important to decrease our consumption of omega-6 rich foods. Therefore reducing our intake of processed foods and plant oils such as corn, safflower, soy and sunflower oils is essential.
There are actually three different types of omega-3 essential fatty acids including ALA, DHA and EPA. I’ll be writing another blog post in the coming weeks expanding on the role of each of these, so stay tuned!