Found mainly in animals and vegetables, essential fatty acids (EFAs) are as they suggest – essential to human health.
The essential fatty acids we need to be most concerned about, Omega-3 and Omega-6, can be both saturated and unsaturated fats. They cannot be manufactured within the body, so must be obtained from the diet.
What Are The Best Food Sources?
Oily Fish (eg mackerel, salmon, sardines)
Meat (organic and grass-fed are best)
Nuts (especially walnuts)
Nuts (especially walnuts)
Leafy green veg
Seed and nut oils (eg avocado, walnut)
Various studies show the typical western diet contains much more Omega-6 than Omega-3 (around a 16:1 ratio) – this is mainly due to our over-consumption of processed foods and vegetable oils. Such an imbalance is likely to cause inflammation at best, and possibly lead to increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
The main focus should be on increasing Omega-3 intake, whilst reducing Omega-6 intake from highly processed vegetable oils, fried foods and processed foods or ready meals. Excessive red meat and/or processed meat consumption can also cause problems.
Healthier alternative oils for cooking are olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee and lard.
What Are The Health Benefits of EFAs?
- Consistently proven benefits to brain, mood and memory
- May help with mental health issues
- Energy production
- Preventing blood clotting
- Reducing inflammation
- Cell membrane structure, function and signalling
- Efficient use of nutrients from food
- Helps maintain a normal metabolism
- Aid to overall digestive health
- May help reduce cardiovascular disease risk, overall mortality, arthritis and body fat
- Can improve insulin sensitivity
- Important for pregnancy and foetal development
- Some studies show evidence of a reduction in PMS
Struggling to get EFAs From The Diet?
We all like different foods, and some of us are fussier eaters than others. This is where nutritional supplements can become a very important part of the diet.
When considering supplements, it’s vital to go for high quality, pure and ‘bioavailable’ products. The Fish Oil Supplements in my web site shop are all premium brands and extremely high quality.
Beware of cheap fish oil supplements, sometimes sold in bulk or at much lower prices. Lower quality fish oils are often industrially processed, highly contaminated with heavy metals, from unsustainable fish stocks and will go rancid much quicker. The end result may be a cheaper product, but a highly ineffective one that may even end up doing you more damage than good!