Essential fatty acids (EFAs), alias, “Unsaturated Fats”, come in two “flavors”; the two essential fatty acids are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Facts about monounsaturated fatty acids
- Monounsaturated fatty acids have a positive effect on good HDL cholesterol.
- Monounsaturated fatty acids are found in nuts, almonds, avocados, seeds and grains and oils – especially in olive oil and rapeseed oil, in addition, rapeseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- The Heart Association recommends that 10-20% of daily energy intake should be from unsaturated fats.
Facts about polyunsaturated fatty acids
- There are two types of essential fatty acids that we cannot form in our body, but which we must have added through the diet. They are called omega-3 and omega-6.
- Fish is a good and important source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating fish with omega-3 fatty acids provides a wide range of beneficial effects on the heart and circulation. It also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.
- Omega-6 is found in nuts, avocado and plant oils, among others.
- The Heart Association recommends that 5-10% of daily energy intake should come from the polyunsaturated fat.
Essential fatty acids were originally called vitamin F when they were first discovered in 1923 but subsequent research indicated that they were more properly classified as dietary fat instead of vitamins.
Most of the fat that we eat should come from essential fatty acids. They are found in abundance in nuts, cold water fish, especially salmon, herring, sardines and trout, vegetable oils (specifically olive, sunflower, soybean, canola).
Polyunsaturated fats are the omega-3s and omega-6s that are getting a lot of attention lately. Both are essential nutrients and ideally should be present in a one-to-one ratio.
In our modern diets we get much more omega 6 than omega 3 which has strong implications for inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
Essential fatty acids have tremendous influence on many aspects of health but especially cardiovascular, immune function, diabetes, inflammation and autoimmune related diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and about sixty more.
Supplementation of omega-3 isn’t something just nice to do; it’s mandatory! Look for a brand that says “pharmaceutical grade” on the label and is made by the molecular distillation process.