Omega-6s to Omega-3s: 4 to 1
Omega-6s and omega-3s are called essential fatty acids for a reason: Their work includes building cell membranes and nerve insulation. But since the body doesn't produce these fats, you must get them from your diet—and the balance makes all the difference. American drive-through cuisine includes huge amounts of omega-6s (irritating in high levels), yet hardly any omega-3s (particularly beneficial for the heart). Although the optimum ratio is 4 to 1, ours is often 20 to 1, which puts us at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, arthritis, asthma, and some cancers.
To right the omega balance: Eat more fish, seafood, whole grains, beans, nuts, and ground flaxseeds to increase omega-3s. And cut back on processed foods—along with oils made from corn, safflower, cottonseed, and peanuts—to ease off the omega-6s.