Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are actually the good fats that have off late has become very important for their positive health benefits. They are extremely vital to human health but cannot be synthesized by the body, hence must obtain from various foods. There are two main types of essential fatty acids:
Omega 3 fatty acids: Along with numerous proteins and carbohydrates, fats are also a class of nutrient with the primary purpose of providing the body with energy. Omega 3 is not a single nutrient but a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids helps in improving blood cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease, regulates important physiological functions, increases bone strength, helps prevent diabetes etc. Omega 3 fatty acids is said to reduce inflammation and help prevent certain chronic diseases like heart disease, arthritis, skin disorders, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure etc.
The primary dietary sources of omega 3 fatty acids are fish oils and plant oils. Omega 3 fatty acids is the basic solution for good health. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids are fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and herring. Other foods include soybean, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, spinach, walnuts and salad greens.
Omega 6 fatty acids: Omega-6 mostly comes as linoleic acid from plant oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil, as well as from nuts and seeds. Omega 6 fatty acids are essential for our health. But they are healthy only in moderation.
This fatty acids plays an important role in cell growth and thus is essential for brain and muscle development. Omega 6 in the form of linoleic acid plays a critical role in the production of hormones. Good sources of Omega 6 fatty acids include Sunflower, Corn, Soya, Pumpkin, Safflower and Wheatgerm.
Interesting way of including these fatty acids: Use unsaturated oils like vegetable oil or canola oils instead of butter and cream. Drizzle over some olive oil or any other flavouring oil over the vegetables while making salads. Instead of frying the bread in butter, use olive oil. Make cream sauce with low fat yogurt. Prepare oil based salad dressings over cream dressings. Use nuts in stir-fries, salads etc as they are the most satisfying and convenient snack.
Most of the teenage group girls who are crazy about diet food generally avoid or ignore eating fatty acid food, but we must remember that fat is every bit important in your diet as other nutrients. About 60% of the brain is fat hence fat and foods rich in fatty acids allow your nervous system to function well. Fat is also necessary to keep the immune system working and drive away host of diseases away from the body.
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