The Skinny on Essential Fatty Acids
Essential Fats are required for the cells in our body to function properly. That makes them pretty important! These fats reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, allergies, Alzheimer's, arthritis, eczema, depression, fatigue, and PMS to name a few. The human brain is 60% fat and one-third of the fat in your diet should come from essential fats. Omega-6 and omega-3 are the two types of polyunsaturated EFAs. The biggest problem is that fast and conveniently packaged food doesn't contain omega-3 fats since they are prone to damage from cooking and food processing. Therefore, most of these fats become trans-fats or the processed fats we know as hydrogenated fats. We need to make a concentrated effort to eat foods with omega-3s since our body doesn't produce them. We must acquire them from food or supplementation. One of the best properties of omega-3s is that it reduces inflammation in our bodies and, therefore, helps with pain relief.
The best food sources of omega-3s are flaxseed, walnuts, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds. You can put ground flaxseed or hemp seeds in your smoothies or on your oatmeal in the morning. Walnuts are great as a snack and delicious atop your salad along with pumpkin seeds. My favorite are raw sprouted pumpkin seeds. Cold water fish like sardines, salmon, and tuna are also great sources of omega-3s. Flaxseed oil is an excellent supplement, as well as fish oil for EPA and DHA. Be sure to get a high quality fish oil that is 3rd party tested and store it in your refrigerator.