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Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are long-chain polyunsaturated fats that are derived from linolenic (Omega-3), linoleic (Omega-6) and oleic (Omega-9) acids. While Omega-9 can be synthesized by the body on its own and therefore is not considered an ‘essential fatty acid’, the body cannot synthesize Omega-3 and Omega-6 and therefore needs to obtain these essential fatty through the diet.

EFAs are necessary for cardiovascular, immune, reproductive and nervous system health. EFAs help the body to expel waste, regulate heart rate and blood pressure, and help the body to fight infection, among other healthy functions. A healthy adult should consume 1.5 grams each of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids on a daily basis. It is thought that Americans obtain an overabundance of Omega-6 in their diet through their consumption of safflower, sunflower and corn oils, while they have a deficiency in Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Omega-3 can be obtained by eating walnuts, brazil nuts, flax, hemp, purslane, salmon, tuna, trout and grass fed, free range meat and eggs. EFA deficiencies are linked to cancer, asthma, schizophrenia, depression, obesity, stroke, arthritis, heart attacks, Alzheimer’s Disease and ADHD, etc.

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