A big contributing factor to inflammation is the ratio of anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are molecules that act as messengers and play an important role in regulating the inflammatory response. Omega-3 essential fatty acids produce anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, whereas omega-6 essential fatty acids produce pro-inflammatory eicosanoids.
Reminder, inflammation is a necessary immune response that helps keep us alive and is a normal physiological response to pathogens, toxins and trauma. When inflammation is chronic and prolonged is when it causes issues. So omega-6 fatty acids and pro-inflammatory eicosanoids are necessary. What is important is the ratio! And here is where the problem comes in…
The ideal ratio is roughly four omega-6s to one omega-3 (4:1). However, because omega-6 fatty acids are almost everywhere in the standard western diet, it is estimated that the ratio people are consuming is between 10:1 to 50:1. Vegetable oils (a source of omega-6) can be found in almost all packaged and processed foods, and restaurant meals. This imbalance is one of the leading causes of inflammation!
So when it comes to cooking, or reading labels on packaged foods, keep an eye out for these oils:
Healthy fats/oils to enjoy
✔️Unrefined avocado oil
✔️Grass-fed ghee (recommend avocado and grass fed ghee for cooking due to high smoke point & stability)
✔️Virgin coconut oil (can use for cooking, but keep at medium heat)
✔️Grass fed butter
✔️Extra virgin olive oil (Is a monounsaturated fat, and so not as stable when it comes to heat, so may be best to have fresh over salads or over foods after they have been cooked).
Oils to avoid:
These oils provide an overabundance of omega-6s, but they are also unstable meaning that they are easily oxidised in heat, light and air, and the way they are produced damages most of these oils.
Of course, another important factor is ensuring you are consuming an adequate amount