Inflammation is the classic double-edged sword of our immune system.
We need acute inflammation to combat infection, but our modern lifestyles are leading to low level chronic inflammation which is at the core of disease, from heart disease to dementia and even depression.
Diets rich in anti-inflammatory foods, like green leafy veg, dark fruits like blueberries and blackberries, nuts, seeds, legumes, naturally reduce inflammation.
But what is it about this diet that works to lower inflammation?
Many of these foods are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which our bodies convert into endocannabinoids - they’re the cannabinoids we naturally create internally.
One of the reasons why well-known plant-based cannabinoids like THC and CBD and emerging cannabinoids like CBG and CBN have such potent medical properties is because they bind to our body’s cannabinoid receptors which signal to our nervous system and immune system, and in turn, reduce pain and generalised inflammation.
Eating a diet high in omega essential fatty acids are another way to up your endocannabinoid levels and create homeostasis.
Omega 3 to 6 ratio
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are called polyunsaturated fats because they have many double bonds (poly=many).
They’re called essential fatty acids as your body doesn’t have enzymes to produce them by itself, therefore we need to get them from our diet so we don’t develop a deficiency and become sick.
However, these fatty acids are different than most other fats. They are not simply used for energy or stored, they are biologically active and have important roles in processes like blood clotting and inflammation.
But omega-6s and omega-3s don't have the same effects. Scientists believe omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory
Chronic inflammation may be one of the leading drivers of the most serious modern diseases, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's and many types of cancer.
Scientists have suggested that diets high in certain omega-6s like LA but low in omega-3s (ALA, EPA, DHA) increases inflammation, while a diet that includes balanced amounts of each reduces inflammation.
Traditionally humans consumed a diet with around a 1:1 ratio of omega 6 to 3 essential fatty acids. In the modern Western diet we have more like a 16:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3.
So it’s time to up your omega 3s. What are the best sources?
Last tip: reduce omega 6s where possible from sources such as soy and processed vegetable oils in particular.