Your body needs a variety of nutrients to function properly. There is a definite link between nutrition and your health.
Chances are you know the importance of vitamins and minerals to your health, but you may not be fully aware that your body relies on fatty acids for many of its functions. Fatty acids are the building blocks of the fat in our bodies and in the food we eat. During digestion, the body breaks down fats into fatty acids, which can then be absorbed into the blood and used by the body.
You’ve probably heard about Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 – these are fatty acids, the “good fats” created by breaking down other fats. Since they’re essential for health and aren’t produced by the body (except for Omega-9), we need to eat food or take supplements that include them.
Fatty Acids are Essential for Health
Fatty acids strengthen your health in many ways, including:
- Help in the movement of oxygen through the bloodstream
- Develop healthy cell membranes and tissues
- Aid in the proper functioning of organs
- Retain healthy lipid levels in the blood
- Aid the functioning of the immune system
- Aid brain function
- Control inflammation
- Help in blood clotting and regulating blood pressure
In addition to these critical functions, fatty acids help in other ways too, from helping you stay in shape to making you look younger.
Here are some additional ways that Omega-3 can benefit you:
- Boosts your brainpower. Researchers have discovered that increasing your Omega-3 intake may improve your brain capabilities.
- Dr. Alex Richardson, a physiologist at the University of Oxford, and Madeleine Portwood, a special education psychologist, studied the effects of increased Omega-3 in 100 school children. They found that 40% of the kids showed a remarkable improvement in their grades and many developed a new interest in reading and music.
- Helps you lose weight. Omega-3 aids in the processing of cholesterol, regulating blood sugar levels, and helping in the functioning of the thyroid gland, which regulates weight. An under-active thyroid causes excessive weight gain.
- According to Udo Erasmus, an expert in nutrition, Omega-3 fatty acids help you burn more calories by increasing your metabolic rate. It’s not how many calories you consume, but how easily you burn them that counts!
- Gives you healthy, younger looking skin. If you want supple, glowing skin, eat food containing Omega-3 fatty acids to help prevent premature aging. They also reduce acne, dry and scaly skin, and skin inflammation.
Sources of Fatty Acids
The usual western-style diet barely contains any fatty acids. For example, the acids in canned and instant foods are leached out by the process that gives a long shelf life to these products.. Getting your fatty acids through fresh, unprocessed foods will give you the full benefits. Fatty acids can be found in certain plants and fish. The list below includes some of the sources for Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids:
- Oily fish like Salmon, Halibut, Tuna
- Ground flax seeds and Flax oil (linseed oil)
- Safflower oil
- Rapeseed oil
- Mustard oil and Mustard greens
- Walnut oil and walnuts
- Wheat Germ Oil
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame Seeds and Sesame Oil
Although oily fish are a good source of fatty acids, ensure that you heed some precautions if you plan to rely on fish to provide them:
- Studies reveal that fish are prone to high levels of contamination from substances – radioactive poisons, heavy metals, and industrial pollutants such as mercury.
- The EPA and the FDA have also warned that eating certain types of fish and shellfish can harm young children, as well as nursing and pregnant women.
- Oxidants are added to fish oil in processing to prevent it from becoming rancid. Obtaining your fatty acids from many different sources would be more beneficial for you.
Taken in the right amounts, fatty acids help you stay healthy, smart, young, and fit. Eating a variety of fresh foods with these beneficial nutrients is one of the best things you can do for yourself. How do you know what the right amount is? It will vary from person to person. Get tested by a Nutrition Response Testing® practitioner. Once you know what nutrients and fatty acids your body needs, you can get a personalized, clinically designed nutrition program that will help your body heal and operate at its best.