Dr. Don Colbert is a well-known physician certified in Family Practice and Anti-Aging medicine,and a New York Times Bestselling author with over 10 million books sold. He is the Medical Director of the Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando, Florida where he has treated over 50,000 patients. Dr. Colbert is an internationally known expert and prolific speaker on Integrative Medicine, is on the Medical Advisory Board for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and has been featured on Fox News, ABC World News, BBC, Readers Digest, News Week, Prevention Magazine and many prominent Christian TV programs. He is also the radio host of his syndicated program “Dr Colbert’s Health Report.”
In his most recent book, The Seven Pillars of Health, Dr. Colbert lists the foods he believes are the most dangerous to eat, because they increase low-grade inflammation. Like the first, trans fats, Dr. Colbert lists two more dangerous foods that lead to inflammation, and ultimately everything from heart disease and diabetes to Alzheimer’s and arthritis, and cancer.
Number two is Omega-6 Fatty Acids.
Usually you hear the word omega and think good fats, but Omega-6 fatty acids, when eaten out of balance, do more harm than good. Now, Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water, wild-caught fish and flax, are useful to help reduce your level of triglycerides, the “bad fats” in the blood that increase your risk of heart disease. Omega-3’s also help thin your blood, reducing the risk of clots sticking to arterial walls, a primary cause of fatal heart attacks, as well as help reduce the occurrence of dangerous heart arrhythmias.
Like Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health and must be ingested through food. Both fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), Omega-6 fatty acids help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system. They are also important for hormone production.
Hormones derived from omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation (an important component of the immune response), blood clotting, and cell proliferation, while those from omega-3 fatty acids decrease those functions. Both families of hormones must be in balance to maintain optimum health.
The problem is that omega-6 fatty acids are so numerous in modern diets we are becoming saturated with an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids, and therefore, increased inflammation and hormonal imbalance.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in seeds and nuts, and their oils. In fact, refined vegetable oils, like soy oil, are used in most of the snack foods, cookies, crackers, and sweets in the American diet as well as in fast food items. In fact, 20 percent of the calories in the American diet are estimated to come from soybean oil.
Dr. Andrew Weil believes this dietary imbalance may explain the rise of such diseases as asthma, coronary heart disease, many forms of cancer, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases, all of which are believed to stem from inflammation in the body. The imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may also contribute to obesity, depression, dyslexia, hyperactivity and even a tendency toward violence.
Bringing the fats into proper proportion may actually relieve those conditions, according to Joseph Hibbeln, M.D., a psychiatrist at the National Institutes of Health, and perhaps the world’s leading authority on the relationship between fat consumption and mental health. At the 2006 Nutrition and Health Conference sponsored by the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Hibbeln cited a study showing that violence in a British prison dropped by 37 percent after omega-3 oils and vitamins were added to the prisoners’ diets.
In addition, Dr. Hibbeln found that suicide rates in service-members were higher in those that were lacking in sufficient amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are cold saltwater fish, as long as they are wild-caught and not farmed; flax seeds and oils. For those of you who prefer freshwater fish, a new study shows that Siscowet Lake Trout, found in Lake Superior, near Duluth, Minnesota are also high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Click here to order Omega-3 fatty acids from Kirkland.
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