Essential Fatty Acids, what are they? In this day of ‘low fat’ and ‘no fat’ the information on Essential Fatty Acids can be confusing. Just what are Essential Fatty Acids and why do we need them?
First the basics on fats: Fats and oils in foods are made up of basic units called fatty acids. There are 3 major categories: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats. Two specific types of polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic and alpha-linolenic, are called essential fatty acids. The body doesn’t create essential fatty acids (EFA’s) however they are quite simply essential to life and health. The only way that we can obtain EFA’s are through our diet.
All cells in our body are comprised of a membrane chiefly made from EFA’s. If this membrane becomes damaged it can lead to cancer and death. EFA’s are also critical to our brain, ears, adrenal glands and hormone activity, reducing inflammation, in fact the very functioning of our muscles relies on EFA’s. Your child’s most rapid brain development occurs in the first 12 months of life. Omega fatty acids help to support that rapid brain development and can influence the way your child will learn and concentrate right through to their teenage years. You can see now why they’re so critical to our health. The symptoms that result in a deficiency of EFA’s are dry skin, hair, nails, tear ducts and mouth, lack of energy, motivation, weak immune system, joint and arthritic conditions, memory loss and fatigue, depression and heart disease.
EFA’s are comprised of three oils, two of which are known as Omega 3 (Alpha-linolenic acid) and Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid). Unless you consume high levels of oily fish – salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and or linseeds and soya, you are most probably deficient in EFA’s! You should supplement your diet with Flaxseed oil, Fish oil and Evening Primrose Oil. (However before commencing supplementation consult your health professional)
Most orthodox health professionals often don’t make the connection between an unhealthy symptom in the body to a deficiency in EFA’s. Surveys suggest that as many as 90% of Americans and Australians are deficient in EFA’s and by simple supplementation, health related problems caused by deficiencies could be eradicated. Plant oils also contain certain amounts of EFA’s and beneficial nutrients, unfortunately due to the processing and heat that is used to produce cooking oils, any naturally occurring healthy nutrients such as vitamin E and EFA’s are lost. The fats themselves are changed into ‘Trans fatty acids’ which are detrimental to our health. Therefore it is important to consume cold pressed oils (oils produced without the use of heavy processing and heat).
Our skin can benefit greatly from Skin Care Products that contain Plant oils, especially Evening Primrose Oil which contains Gamma Linoleic Acid an omega 6 oil. Evening Primrose Oil rejuvenates and restores lustre to dry skin and can reduce inflammation. Beauty By Nature’s ‘Essential Elixer’, is a night treatment oil containing valuable Evening Primrose Oil, Organic rosehip oil as well as therapeutic Essential Oils. Over the years, Essential Elixer has proven to be the best product for restoring vitality, reducing fine lines and dryness and promoting more youthful, softer, smoother and silkier skin.