Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) - what they are and why we need them

Fats get a bad press. Fact.

However, research is showing us more and more that, contrary to what we have been led to believe, fat is not the enemy – as long as it is the ‘right’ kind of fat.

Here at Isle Lose It we have known this for over a decade and have been advising people to ditch the low fat (plastic) products in favour of their full fat, much healthier counterparts since 2009. But I digress…

You may have heard of EFA’s (essential fatty acids) but are not quite sure what they are or what they mean for your health.

There are two types of EFA - Omega 3 and Omega 6. They are called essential because the body cannot manufacture them and therefore they need to be ingested through diet.

Of the two, Omega 3 is the most important.

Here are just a few reasons why Omega 3 is so important for our health:

  • It brings balance to our hormones

  • It reduces inflammation

  • It regulates blood sugar

  • It prevents blood clotting

  • It keeps cholesterol and triglycerides in balance

  • It relaxes our blood vessels

  • …and it makes our 75 trillion cells healthy and resilient!

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It is interesting to know that studies have revealed that until the 1850’s a 1:1 ratio between the two types of EFA’s was normal in the human diet. That however has shifted to around 1:2 (Omega 3:Omega 6 ratio). Such a huge imbalance over such a short time means that our bodies are ill equipped to assimilate an unsuitable fat intake.

Having a good EFA profile will also enable us to manufacture the super tissue hormones called PROSTOGLANDINS.

What do they do? Here are some examples of their work:

  • Help repair tissues and arteries

  • Help reduce inflammation

  • Help improve fertility

  • Help the liver detoxify

  • Help kidneys eliminate excess sodium

So what can we eat to help increase our EFA profile?

Here are some super healthy ideas for you:

  • Oily fish - salmon, mackerel, sardines

  • Flaxseeds

  • Chai seeds

  • Walnuts

  • Brussel Sprouts

  • Pasteurised or Omega 3 enriched eggs

  • Grass fed meat

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A good Omega 3 supplement would also be useful

Staying away from bad fats that are found in processed food, pastries, pies, cakes etc and replacing them with much healthier sources of fat will go a long way to improving your overall health.

Eat up!


NutritionCaroline Brooks