Essential Fats or Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) as they are known are a core necessity to the human body. They are essential, because we cannot make them and therefore must get them from our foods. EFA’s from Omega 3 are necessary for every cell in our body as they maintain the fluidity of cell membranes while lowering the amount of fats circulating in the bloodstream. They relax the arteries, balance cholesterol, hormones and prostaglandins; which are messengers that help us control lots of different processes in the body, including inflammation.
Omega 3 reduces the risk of obesity and improves the body’s insulin response, and helps prevent cancer cell growth. Symptoms such as depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fatigue, dry skin, brittle hair and nails, inability to concentrate and joint pain all indicate a potential deficiency. Omega-3's are important for brain function, specifically DHA. Higher intakes are associated with memory, brain function and cognition. Taking Omega 3 helps to build your mitochondrial membranes and ultimately support energy and fat loss.
The most beneficial omega-3's are found in cold-water fatty fish, including salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, tuna and herring. Additional Omega 3 is found in sources like flaxseed, soya bean and walnuts. Chia seeds have high balanced levels of omegas, high fibre content and are a good vegetarian protein source.
Recent studies suggest that flaxseed (linseed) may have a protective effect against cancer, particularly breast, prostate, & colon cancer. Ground your flaxseed to gain benefits and use as an alternative flour; great for breads, muffins and as cereal base. It is easy to make high essential fats seed and nut butters; grind seeds/nuts to a powder (add Himalayan sea salt) and mix with a little water/oil. Additionally, despite various ‘diet’ myths over the years, it is necessary to eat fat to lose fat!
Omega 6 Fatty Acids must be balanced with Omega 3 as medical research suggests that excessive omega 6 may increase the probability of a number of diseases and depression. The average western diet is 10:1 Omega 6: Omega 3 when 4:1 ratio or lower is more beneficial. Oils include Olive, palm, soya bean, rapeseed, sunflower vegetable and corn.
Finally, an overconsumption of carbohydrates such as bread and pasta can prevent a large percentage of fats from being used for energy, and lead to an increase in fat production and storage, as well as affecting blood sugar!