What they can do and where they can be found.
In a past issue we discussed the importance of the main elements that the body requires to function. Water, carbohydrates, protein and fats. I thought it would be a good idea to now elaborate more on the issue of fats….
Our bodies need fats, but of course there are different types of fats, here we are going to look at the good fats which are called Essential Fatty Acids, what the can do and where they can be found. Few people know about the health benefits that come from eating the right balance of “essential fatty acids” or EFA's
What do essential fatty acids do for us?
Each of the Body's cells depends on the essential fatty acids for normal functioning; the cell is a tiny factory, taking in raw materials from the surrounding fluid and sending out various chemicals. Everything going into or coming out of the cell has to pass through the cell's outer surface – its membrane. The membrane depends on essential fatty acids to remain fluid and flexible.
Since essential fatty acids are needed by all cells, diets deficient in these important nutrients can result in a wide variety of disorders, including.
· Skin problems, such as itching, flaking, peeling and hair loss
· Headache, fatigue, restlessness, confusion, and general weakness
· Easy bruising, pain, inflammation and swelling of joints
· Infertility, spontaneous abortion and kidney problems
So where can we get EFA's from in our diet. There are two families of EFA's “Omega -6 and Omega-3”
Omega -6 fatty acids are most abundant in common vegetable oils such as corn, safflower, sesame and sunflower oils, whilst Omega-3 are
found primarily in seafood, green leafy vegetables, fish, and walnuts. Oils and seeds rich in Omega-3 are canola oil, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seed.
A critical finding is that the body functions best when the diet contains a balanced ration of EFA's yet the typical Western diet contains approximately fourteen to twenty times more Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3's. This imbalance in now being linked with a long list of serious conditions and diseases including
Heart attack, stroke, cancer, obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, lupus, depression and schizophrenia.
Recommendations for optimum Omega-3 take on a weekly basis
A tablespoon of ground seeds most days
Cold-pressed seed oil blend in salad dressings or on vegetables
Pumpkin seed butter on bread
Coldwater fish twice a week. E.g. mackerel, sardines, salmon