Diet Nutrition Information
Polyunsaturated Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) (PUFAs)
Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are two basic types of essential fatty acids: linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). Both belong to the polyunsaturated-fat family. They are essential because, unlike all other fats, they cannot be manufactured by the body and must therefore be obtained from dietary sources. When eaten in the right amounts (3 grams omega-6, to one gram of omega-3), these EFAs have powerful healing properties and may assist weight control.
Beneficial Effects of Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids have a huge range of nutritional and health benefits, and are active throughout the body. First and foremost, they are oxygen 'magnets'. They help to transport oxygen from our red blood cells to our individual cells. In addition, they enhance growth in the body, increase metabolic rate and help to reduce elevated blood cholesterol. They regulate glandular processes, chromosome activity, and boost immunity to disease as well as resistance to infection.
Daily Requirement of Essential Fatty Acids
According to Udo Erasmus, a world authority on dietary fats, approximately 3-6 grams a day of essential fatty acids is sufficient for most people.
Best Dietary Balance: Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Experts advise that, for optimum health, we should take about three grams of omega-6 for each gram of omega-3. However, the average Western diet contains too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3.
Best Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
The richest natural source of omega-6 is safflower oil. Other good sources include sunflower, hemp and wheatgerm oil. Omega 3 is much less widely available, the best natural source being flax seed oil. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are also found in oily fish, such as mackerel, herring, salmon and tuna. Oily fish contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
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