This has one of the two Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) – so-called, because our bodies are NOT able to make the parent Omega-6 (linoleic acid – LA) from other fats if there is not enough in our food.
I just need to reinforce this point – it is an Essential nutrient and you have to get the amounts your body needs, from your food, or your health will be deteriorating.
There is a wide range of Omega-6 oils available, the most common being safflower (75%), grape-seed (70%), sunflower (66%), corn (55%), hemp (54%) and soybean oil(51%). The Omega-9 oils – Canola (19%), peanut(32%) and rice-bran (33%) also contain significant amounts of Omega-6.
You will note that the list above has pretty much all the oils readily obtained from the supermarket in NZ and widely used for cooking and making salad dressings. These are also the oils commonly used in processed food.
(Another oil commonly used in processed food is cottonseed oil (52% Omega-6) and since cotton, as a crop, has very high pesticides usage and much of cotton sown around the world is with GE cultivars, cottonseed oil is not a great oil to have in your diet).
The nett result of our high usage of Omega-6 oils is that people on a typical Western diet have no problem with lack of Omega-6 and the advice to use lots of polyunsaturated margarine etc. is not actually good for you (more on this later)
There is compelling evidence that 10,000 years ago, our bodies evolved with EQUAL amounts of Omega-6 and Omega-3 in our diet.
Now days our bodies typically have at least 10 or, some studies suggest, up to 30 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3 – not good.
This imbalance is probably the biggest single change in our diet from caveman days and responsible for a lot of modern health issues.
What do I need to do to get my body back in balance?
Change the oils you use for cooking and salad dressings to Omega-9 oils (see Omega-9 blog) and get more Omega-3 in your diet (more on this later).
Check out the best oils at http://waihibush.co.nz/