A Chiropractor in West Palm Beach can help you with many ailments by way of adjustments. However, the food you consume on a daily basis has a very large impact on your body and the thousands of underlying processes that go on inside it every day. Nutrition is certainly a significant factor in your health. So some of your lifestyle choices outside of the doctor’s office can influence the effectiveness of treatment. When you eat well, your immune system fights off illness better, you elevate your brain function, you lose weight and your energy soars. By incorporating certain foods into your diet, you can contribute to faster healing and continued wellness. 

In this post we will look at the importance of essential fatty acids and the anti-inflammatory diet. 



What are Essential Fatty Acids?

Fatty Acids that are necessary for health and those that can not be made by the body are called essential fatty aicds (EFAs).  So Essential fatty acids must be supplied through the diet.  Improving skin and hair, reducing blood pressure, prevention of arthritis, lowering cholesterol/ triglyceride levels and reducing the risk of formation of blood clots all require essential fatty acids.  Additionally, essential fatty acids are important for your nervous system and a deficiency can lead to impaired brain function. 


Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids


Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are the 2 basic essential fatty acids which are categorized based on their chemical structures. Fresh deep water fish, fish oil and certain vegetable oils (canola oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil) are rich in omega-3.  Omega-6 EFAs are found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes, and unsaturated vegetable oils (borage oil, grapeseed oil, primrose oil, sesame oil, soybean oil).


Importance of a balanced ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 in your diet


Here is the basic inflammatory cascade. First, Linoleic acid, is a polyunsaturated EFA mostly found in plant oils. It accounts for approximately 90 percent of your dietary intake of omega-6 fatty acids.  And Linoleic acid from Omega-6 fatty acids is converted to arachidonic acid in your body.  Our bodies produce this nutrient, and its excess may lead to inflammatory diseases and disorders.

Second, through several steps, arachidonic acid converts into prostaglandin-E2 (PGE2).  Prostaglandin-E2 (PGE2) is a principal mediator (substance that transmits information between two cells, tissues, or organs) of inflammation in diseases. Prostaglandins are hormone-like compounds that are produced in your body to act as chemical messengers and regulators of various body processes. The body releases prostaglandins-E2 (PGE2), as an inflammatory response to disease and injury.  But in excess, chronic diseases and cancers are in part maintained or supported by this “proinflammatory” cascade. Examples of chronic disease seen in the chiropractic office are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. 

Therefore, eating omega-6 foods can be beneficial to your health for a number of reasons, but consumed in excess can be problematic. And it’s easy to consume too much linoleic acid because these foods/oils are typically used to make processed foods. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in high amounts in most seeds (and their oils) as well as in grains and their manufactured varieties (e.g., flours, pasta, cereal,chips, desserts). Moreover, meats, dairy fats, and shellfish are also converted to arachidonic acid which is converted to PGE2.

Third, this is where the balanced ratio is crucial. For instance, one study indicates that women with high Omega-6 fatty acid intake and a low Omega-3 fatty acid intake were more prone to develop breast cancer.


What Ratio is the Best?

A ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids should be close to 1: 1 in your diet to maintain an anti-inflammatory state. Unfortunately, ratios in the modern american diet can be as high as 10-30: 1.

The anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids are found in green vegetables, most fish, wild game, and grass-fed meat.  Consuming eggs and beef that have a higher Omega-3 content is a possible solution.  Omega-3 fatty acids may also be supplemented in the form of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/ docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)fish oil or from flaxseed oil.


A diet consisting of less grain and seed and more vegetables, fruits and fish is recommended. A proper balance of omega-6 to Omega-3 would be maintained with diets such as the following:  


Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy diet.  It is a diet high in fish consumption so is high in omega-3 fatty acid.  Moreover, this diet is focused on whole foods instead of processed foods.


DASH- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet

The dash diet is designed to reduce high blood pressure.  It has been shown to reduce inflammation, probably because it reduces blood pressure and promotes weight loss. This diet focuses on whole foods and limits protein, sweets, and processed foods. In contrast to the mediterranean diet, it does include a bit more dairy, and it doesn’t specifically encourage fish or extra-virgin olive oil.


Elimination Diet

An elimination diet may help you go a step further by identifying foods that trigger inflammation in your body. For example, if you’ve cut out processed foods but still experience symptoms of inflammation, you should try this diet. During an elimination diet, you stop eating one or more potential problem foods for several weeks. You keep a food journal to document what you eat and how it affects you.  As you slowly reintroduce those foods into your diet, you keep track of the outcome. Finally, your healthcare provider can identify patterns that indicate cause and effect.


Call Meiri Chiropractic today on…Working Hand to Hand with Chiropractic Care: Essential Fatty Acids and the Anti-inflammatory Diet

According to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ (Nabco’s) Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2015 “Chiropractic is based on the premise that the body is able to achieve and maintain health through its own natural recuperative powers, provided it has a properly functioning nervous system and receives the necessary health maintenance components. These components include adequate nutrition, water, rest exercise and clean air”.

Your chiropractor in West Palm Beach will adjust your spine to improve the relationship between the spine and nervous system. This affects the function of all the organs and systems in your body.  Learning and implementing a lifestyle for good health and self enhancement prevents future suffering.  In this regard, we may give take home exercises, recommend ergonomic changes and nutritional changes.  Call 561-253-8984 to find out more about Working Hand to Hand with Chiropractic Care: Essential Fatty Acids and the Anti-inflammatory Diet or to schedule an appointment.