Fats act as a fuel, while the so-called essential fatty acids are fatty acids that are needed for biological processes. Our body cannot synthesize these acids, but it is required for our body to function correctly. Read on to know the importance of essential fatty acids.
What Are Essential Fatty Acids?
Losing weight is one of the hot topics for women and some men. Most of us believe that to lose weight, we have to eliminate fats from our bodies. Well, that is not the case. Because fats are essential for our body to function, these fats are called essential fatty acids or EFAs. Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs are naturally composed of fats and oils. The human body does not produce fatty acids, and we get them from the food we eat. EFAs are classified into three groups based on their chemical structure.
- Saturated fatty acids
- Mono-saturated fatty acids
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids
Saturated fatty acids are fatty acids that came from or were found in animals. Examples are; lard, cheese, meat, sausage, and butter. Unsaturated fatty acids are fatty acids that come from fish oil and plants. Examples are; avocado, nuts, salmon, herring, vegetable oil. Polyunsaturated fatty acids- these are also essential fats that we need to ingest because they cannot be manufactured in the human body. It is divided into two primary groups;
- Linoleic acid (omega-6) – good sources of omega-6 are; dairy products, legumes, and nuts.
- Alpha-linoleic acid (omega-3) – sources of omega-3 are; soybean, tofu, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, parsley, cereal grasses like barley and wheat, walnuts, and dark green vegetables.
Why Do We Need These Essential Fatty Acids?
- Essential fatty acids are vital for the formation of healthy cell membranes.
- It aids in the proper development and functioning of the brain and our nervous system.
- It keeps proper adrenal activity and helps the thyroid function properly.
- Essential fatty acids also stimulate hormone production.
- It helps regulate blood pressure, liver function, immune and inflammatory responses.
- Essential fatty acids aid the regulation of blood clotting: omega-6 encourages blood clot formation, while omega-3 reduces blood clotting.
- It is crucial for the transportation and breaking down of cholesterol.
- Essential fatty acids also support healthy skin and hair.
The essential fatty acids play a crucial role in our health to help us function properly in our daily life. Since we are now informed that they cannot manufacture these EFAs in our bodies, we now know where to get them. There are also FDA-approved products that are a good source of essential fatty acids.
Now that we know that losing weight does not necessarily mean getting rid of all the fats in our body, we should learn different foods that produce essential fats from fatty foods that only put us at risk of diseases. Proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are all it takes to achieve your weight goal. And if you choose to have EFAs supplementation, it is essential to get your doctor’s advice.