Essential Fatty Acids

healthy good fatsFat isn’t the villain some make it out to be – in fact, it’s a vital nutrient, but sorting out good fats and bad fats can be challenging. Fats are made up of fatty acids. There are two main types – saturated and unsaturated. The unsaturated fatty acids can be subdivided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

The body can make its own saturated and monounsaturated fats from carbohydrates, alcohol or protein. However, it cannot make certain polyunsaturated fatty acids i.e. Essential Fatty Acids, so these fatty acids must be obtained through diet or through pure, natural food supplements.

EFA’s are essential for healthy cells (structure and function). They are essential for hormone like messengers controlling the body’s wellbeing. They can’t be made by the body but are “essential” like vitamins and minerals for all functions.

omega-36-symbolsTwo Families of Essential Fatty Acids:

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids
  2. Omega-6 fatty acids

There are three main omega-3s:

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) come mainly from fish, so they are sometimes called marine omega-3s.
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the most common omega-3 fatty acid in most Western diets, is found in vegetable oils and nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds and flaxseed oil, leafy vegetables, and some animal fat, especially in grass-fed animals. The human body generally uses ALA for energy, and conversion into EPA and DHA is very limited.

Benefits of EPA

  • Maintains a healthy HeartiStock_000015903082Medium
  • Supports circulation and healthy blood vessel function
  • Supports joint mobility and flexibility.
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Maintains balanced blood sugar levels.
  • Increases fat burning and improves body composition.

Benefits of DHA

  • Supports brain development
  • Enhances retinal development in a growing foetus and infant.
  • Promotes a positive mood and well-being
  • Promotes memory and learning ability.
  • Vital for pregnant and lactating women.