Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are types of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are essential because our body cannot produce them so they need to be obtain from our diet, and they are essential to all the tissues in the body.
There are two main kinds of EFAs, commonly known as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Foods high in EFA’s pack a nutritional punch because they are generally loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and many other antioxidants. Deficiencies in these EFA’s lead to a weakened immune system, growth problems and issues with the liver and kidneys.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 has a number of jobs in the body including helping organs function properly. It is used in the formation of cells walls and helps circulate oxygen throughout your body. It helps in the prevention of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, skin conditions and diabetes. It manages inflammation and maintains the normal structure of every cell, as well as aids healthy brain function.
Omega-3 can be found in many plant-based foods such as beans (mung and soy), seeds and nuts (walnuts, flax, hemp, chia and pumpkin seeds), oils (flaxseed and linseed), eggs and fruit and vegetables. It can also be found in oily fish such as salmon or tuna.
OMEGA-6 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-6 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart disease, helps with skin problems, fights cancer cells and treats arthritis. Most people get plenty of omega-6 in their diet, sometimes too much. Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3 fatty acids for use in the body, so too much omega-6 can inhibit the omega-3. Omega-6 is found in leafy vegetables, avocados, seeds and nuts (Brazil nuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts), whole grains, eggs, and vegetable oils (corn, soybean, cottonseed, sesame, sunflower).