Omega 6 fatty acids: what they are and why you need them What exactly are Omega 6 fatty acids, and why do some experts say they’re bad for us?  How does Omega 6 differ from Omega 3 or 9?  If you find all the information about the omega family confusing, this article should help to clear things up. First, the basics. Fatty acids are the building blocks that make up the mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated  fats and oils in our diets.  Our bodies require them in the same way they require other nutrients, e.g. amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Fatty acids are divided into three major groups according to their chemical structure: Omega 3, 6 and 9.  Omega 6 fatty acids can help to maintain heart1, skin and hormonal health, IF they’re in balance with the other omegas in your diet.  Omega 6 fatty acids also play a role in forming hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins, which can affect our health and wellbeing in various ways.  They also make up a significant proportion of our cell membranes. What’s the right Omega 6 balance? Research suggests that we need an Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of around 2-4:1 to support optimal wellbeing and health.  Unfortunately, the balance of these fatty acids in our Western diet is often closer to 14-25:12. In these ratios, the prostaglandins that we produce can actually create inflammation in our various systems, rather than countering it.  The result is that instead of supporting our health, Omega 6 fatty acids may make certain inflammatory conditions worse. Of course, this isn’t to say that we should avoid Omega 6 fatty acids completely.  However, it does mean that we need to ensure our intake is in balance with our intake of other omega fatty acids. Flaxseed oil is one of the most balanced natural Omega 6 sources Many wholegrain and plant foods contain Omega 6 fatty acids. However, none of them contain Omega 6 in a more naturally balanced ratio with other omegas than flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is extracted from the seeds of the flax (Linum usitatissimum) bush. Omega ratios can vary somewhat between individual flaxseed oils, but an Omega 3 content of anything up to 65% is not unusual.  Because the remaining fatty acids include both Omega 6 and 9, flaxseed oil is an ideal choice to provide a balanced omega intake. What to look for in a flaxseed oil supplement Omega 6 oils are particularly heat-sensitive, so ensure that any supplement you choose is cold-pressed.   They also oxidise easily, so it’s important to store liquid flaxseed oil in a completely airtight bottle in the fridge. Or, alternatively, choose a capsule – not only do many people find capsules more convenient to take, but encapsulating the oil helps to prevent oxidation. Finally, try to find an organic product.  If the flaxseeds have been grown organically, they’re certified as being free of toxic residues from pesticides or fertilizers.  And the fewer of those you take in, the better! 1William S. Harris, Dariush Mozaffarian,; Eric Rimm, Penny Kris-Etherton, Lawrence L. Rudel, Lawrence J. Appel, Marguerite M. Engler, Mary B. Engler, Frank Sacks. Omega-6 Fatty Acids and Risk for Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation. 2009;119:902-907 2http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/flaxseed-oil-000304.htm
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4 Tips for Building Better Heart Health

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Better heart health = better life quality

Your heart is probably the hardest-working muscle in your body. With each beat, this fist-sized organ pumps blood to every cell from your head to your toes. That blood carries vital nutrients and oxygen to all your cells, then collects waste products and toxins so that they can be eliminated. More impressive yet, your heart has to keep beating, because without a constant supply of fresh oxygen, your cells begin to die. And if your heart beats at the average rate of 80bpm (beats per minute), it beats:
  • 4,800 times in an hour
  • Over 115,000 times each day
  • Over 42 million times every year
So you can see why better heart health means better life quality– and why it’s so important to make your heart’s job as easy as possible.

4 Tips to help you build better heart health

#1 – If you smoke, get help to quit

Smoking is probably the biggest risk factor for cardiovascular issues. Not only can it damage your heart and blood vessels, but it also reduces the amount of oxygen your blood can carry. In other words, your heart has to work harder to get the same amount of oxygen to your cells. The good news is that as soon as you stop smoking, your risk starts to fall dramatically. So if you need help to quit, reach out to your doctor or visit the Quit website.

#2 – Don’t just sit there…

The Mayo Clinic’s Dr James Levine originally said that “sitting is the new smoking” – but he’s not the only one to see danger in inactivity. That’s why the Australian Department of Health recommends doing 150-300 minutes of moderate activity across most days of the week for adults. That said, any activity is better than none. Even simply getting up from your chair every 30 minutes instead sitting for long periods will help your heart to get your blood moving.

#3 – Manage your stress

Stress raises both your blood pressure and your heart rate, meaning your heart has to work harder to pump all that blood around your body. So what can you do to manage that stress? It’s impossible to avoid stressors altogether, but you can sometimes pick your battles. Meditation, yoga and relaxing music can also all help to manage your stress response. And there’s research showing that practicing gratitude can lead to a healthier heart too.

#4 – Get more Omega-3 in your diet

A vast array of research has shown that Omega-3 fats play an important role in maintaining heart health. And one of the best natural sources of Omega-3 fatty acids is fish oil. High-strength Nutra-Life OceanCleanTM Triple Strength Omega 3 capsules provide three times the active Omega-3 components of standard fish oil formulas. That means you get all the heart and cardiovascular system benefits in a single, convenient, one-a-day capsule. Our tip? Ask for Nutra-Life OceanCleanTM Triple Strength Omega 3 to help build better heart health at your Pharmacy or Health Food store today.