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Fight Asthma with Your Diet

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Good news! If you have asthma, you may very well be able to fight it with your diet — provided you’re eating plenty of salmon, trout and sardines. Researchers at La Trobe University (Australia) found that children who ate a healthy Mediterranean diet enriched with fatty fish twice a week improved their lung function in six months. Investigators said the omega-3s in the fish have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce asthma symptoms.

I’m happy to report this great news, which validates one more time that omega-3 fats have a substantive use in your diet. In fact, omega-3s are now recognized as being so important in gauging your overall health that some scientists are suggesting that your omega-3 blood level actually is a better predictor of mortality than serum cholesterol.

Then, there’s that “other” fat, aka omega-6, and it, too, has been linked to mortality — but before you jump to conclusions, it’s also important to keep mind that you need to make sure the omega-3 and omega-6 ratio is in balance. This is especially true if you eat a Western diet, where you very likely may be eating too few omega-3s, while consuming far too many omega-6s.

The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is 1-to-1, but the typical Western diet ranges between 1-to-20 and 1-to-50, depending on your eating habits. If a large portion of your diet centers around vegetable oil-laden fast food and processed foods, you are undoubtedly overdoing it on omega-6.

In general, when omega-6s predominate your diet, you will almost always suffer from inflammation. In general, a diet high in omega-3 and low in omega-6 will reduce inflammation, while a diet low in omega-3 and high in omega-6 will promote inflammation and, yes, your best source of the best omega-3s are animal-based.

But while all this is good to know, an even more important question is how do you decipher all that? How do you know specifically which fats are good, which are bad and the biggie: How do you tell the difference? Good news again! My new book, “Superfuel,” helps dispel your fat confusion, giving you the ins and outs of the different types of fats, with details on why it’s important for you to properly balance your omega-3s and omega-6s — and more.