In the past 100 years we’ve seen many changes in the food we eat, particularly how it is grown and processed. Some of these have been very positive and helpful – better refrigeration, quicker transportation time to market, wider variety, etc.
Other changes in food production and preparation have created serious health problems. Many of these problems are now showing up in diminished health in a wide spectrum of the population, both young and old.
One very clear example of this is the change in how our beef is raised. At the turn of the 20th century almost all cattle was raised in fields of grass, eating by grazing all day long. These days, most of the meat available in your local grocery store has been entirely grain fed, or at least fed grains for the last few months to fatten it for market.
Why is this an important difference from the earlier way of raising cattle?
From a food quality point of view, the difference in nutrients is huge. Grains are not the natural primary food of cattle. Corn and other grains contain high amounts of sugars compared with grass, as well as having a disproportionately large amount of Omega 6 fatty acids compared with Omega 3 fatty acids.
The result is beef with much higher amounts of fat (from the sugar content of the grain) and a very large amount of the pro-inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids.
The natural, healthy ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is around 3:1. In grain-fed beef, the ratio can be 20:1 or higher, depending on how long the grain was fed. For feedlot beef, this is most of their life and the ratios can be even more off balance.
Why This Is Important To You
Even though we need both Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet, we need them in a natural ratio. Studies indicate that if that ratio is over 4:1, health problems increase.
With the modern diet, we tend to eat far more grains than our ancestors did 1,000 years ago, which already gives us a higher proportion of Omega 6. Add to that the skewed ratios of grain-fed beef and this imbalance gets worse.
The resulting health problems include:
- coronary artery disease
- other inflammatory and autoimmune disorders
Notice how many of these are among the top 10 causes of death. This is not a coincidence.
How do you help correct this imbalance? One way is to only eat beef that is 100% grass-fed. Grass-fed beef has an ideal fatty acid ratio of 3:1. Another good source is cold water fish ? however you must make sure that the fish is free from mercury. This is hard to do unless you buy your fish directly from a trustworthy source who guarantees its purity. If you want sources for this, contact me.
In addition, I recommend supplementing your diet with a high EFA supplement, such as fish oil. EFA supplements provide a high concentration of the most important fatty acids to help counter the effects of the modern diet.
Be sure to use only the highest quality EFA supplement, ideally with guaranteed purity – in other words, guaranteed not to be contaminated with mercury.
Another source of EFA besides fish oil is flax seed oil. It has a nutty flavor and can be used in a variety of ways in your food. Because flax oil goes rancid very easily, only use the kind that requires refrigeration, and don’t let it sit in the refrigerator too long.
Following the above steps will help compensate for the inflammatory effects of too much Omega 6 fatty acids in the modern diet, and it will help you reduce the serious side effects of our modern diet on your health.