Vegetable & sunflower oils are innocent looking perpetrators guilty of leading you to a imbalanced diet that increases your risk of chronic disease & obesity.
This is due to their high amounts of omega 6 is tipping the omega 6 to 3 balance the wrong way. A healthy balanced diet should have a ratio of 1:1, however typical diets in the UK are closer to 15:1 increasing the incidence of heart disease, inflammatory diseases and obesity.
Increasing your Omega 3 intake will suppress this.
Fast food addicts and vegans commonly have the worst imbalances.
Imagine a war with too many soldiers to tacticians and medics. Total mayhem, likely an inappropriate aggressive response, to the detriment of the country they fight for. But without any soldiers at all, there is no one to win the battle. It's the same with omega 6 and omega 3 both essential fatty acids (EFA). Omega 6 are needed to produce cytokines, the signalling agents in our body, to flag up to the immune system something is wrong and it needs fixing. However, deficiency of omega 6 is extremely rare but too much and an inflammatory reaction is caused. If you become inflamed you are more likely to be ill that will not only effect your work but also your lifestyle
High Omega 6 leads to coronary artery disease
Omega 6 linoleic acid (LA) replaces Omega 3 in lipoproteins. Diets with high omega 6 increase the LA content of the small (atherogenic) LDL increasing it's susceptibility to oxidation (1). This has been shown to be associated with severity of coronary artery (that supplies the nutrients to your heart) disease, otherwise known as atheroscherlosis. Often the sign a person shows a symptom of this is a heart attack.
The hidden Omega 6s
Processed foods are extremely high in not only omega 6, but also trans fats, that lead to heart disease and obesity. Microwave meals, chips, breads, margarines and other snacks are high in vegetable and hydrogenated oils. It's no suprise those with diets high omega 6 are top of the obesity scale (2). Just eat real food!
Poultry has the highest omega 6 content of any animal, but most of this resides in the skin. Chicken is 9% omega 6, but throw away the skin and it is just 1.5%!
Omega 3 for the brain?
It would be great if there was a magic supplement that could supercharge our brains but the consumption of Omega-3 for brain power has been greatly exaggerated, thanks to some fishy research (3). Even from a young child the supplementation of fish oil has been literally shoved down my throat as 'fuel for the brain', but a study in 450 children for 4 months, showed no real cognitive difference between supplementation or not (4)
What oils are good?
If you are used to cooking with vegetable oil replace this with rapeseed oil, olive oil or ghee, which is full of nutrients and has a high smoking point. Avocado and coconut oil are also high in omega 3 with high smoking temperatures.
Flax seed oil has the highest amount of omega 3, unfortunately it is also very unstable and extremely susceptible to oxidation (5)
Foods high in Omega 3 for your shopping list
Fish - Mackerel, tuna, salmon
Meat - grass fed beef
..and leave those processed foods on the shelves