Fats, Omegas, & Fatty Acids - What You Need to Know

A low fat diet is not necessarily a health one. It is more important to focus on the kinds of fats that you are eating. Fatty acids are needed to create hormones and cell membranes in the body. Too many fats can also cause problems. Consider the fats you are eating, fried foods, red meat, and trans fats feed the inflammatory process in your body. This is especially true for those with fertility issues related to inflammation. The correct fatty acids are needed for follicular rupture (when the egg is released). Omega 3 fats are significant part of health, but drastically deficient in the American diet, while too much pro-inflammatory omega 6 is consumed. It is vital to ensure that the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is as close to 1:1 as possible. The modern American diet is closer to 25:1 (MASSIVELY INFLAMMATORY). The best way to address what you fats you are eating includes increasing the amount of omega 3 intake, but also decreasing omega 6.

Foods High in Omega 3 (eat lots of!)

  • Flax Seeds (bonus: contains lignans, which is a phytonutrient that has been linked to fighting prostate and breast cancer)
  • Leafy Greens (romaine, arugula, spinach, cabbage)
  • Walnuts
  • Algae
  • Winter squash (buternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkins)
  • Alaskan wild caught salmon
  • Sardines

Foods High in Omega 6 (reduce!)

  • Vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, cottonseed, soybean oil)
  • Fried foods
  • Corn
  • Beef 
  • Pork (yes, bacon!)
  • Chicken
  • Dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk)

Additionally, studies show that even a small amount of trans fat can impact fertility and cardiovascular health. It is important to avoid trans fats completely, but sometimes they are hidden in foods (companies are allowed to "round down" the amount of trans fat on a nutrition label). Look for "partially hydrogenated" or "fully hydrogenated" vegetables oils on the ingredients list. If it's on the list, there are trans fats in that food. Here are some foods that have hidden trans fats, some may be okay, it depends on the brand. The only way to know is to read the ingredient label. Be suspicious of the following:

  • French fries
  • Margarine & Shortening (Crisco)
    • Swap it out for real butter if you need it
  • Peanut butter (including Jif, Skippy and Peter Pan)
    • Not all peanut butters do, be sure to read the ingredients list
  • Pre-made pies and piecrusts
    • Pillsbury and Marie Callender's pies have up to 4grams of trans fats per serving
  • Cake Mixes & Frostings
  • Ice Cream & frozen dairy treats
  • Non-dairy creamers
  • Microwave Popcorn
  • Breakfast sandwiches and fast-food biscuits

Being an informed consumer is necessary, it is important to be aware of what you are eating and how it is affecting your health.

Posted on November 25, 2014 .