Have you ever felt like you’re missing out on a key ingredient in your healthy diet? If so, then the right amounts of essential fatty acids may be the missing piece you’ve been searching for. While these vital nutrients play a crucial role in maintaining optimal health, it can be difficult to know where to find them and how much of them your body actually needs.
But you don’t have to worry any longer because we’ve already put in the work to compile everything you need to know about essential fatty acids. Let’s take a look!
What Are Essential Fatty Acids?
Essential fatty acids are unsaturated fats that our bodies need to keep a variety of organs functioning, including your heart. Most of us know these fatty acids as their more common names, omega-3 and omega-6. You need both types of omega fatty acids in your diet to help make sure your body has what it needs to keep your cardiovascular system running by managing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood flow. In addition to supporting a healthy cardiovascular system, these essential fatty acids also support brain health, eye health, joint health, and skin health.
Types of Essential Fatty Acids
While it’s simple enough to think about essential fatty acids as being either Omega-3s or Omega-6s, it gets a little more complicated than that. In fact, there are numerous essential fatty acids that fall into those two broader categories.
Let’s start with Omega-3 fatty acids, of which there are three main types: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
EPA and DHA are primarily found in seafood and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, and they are particularly important for supporting heart health, as they help manage cholesterol and help reduce irritation in blood vessels.
Meanwhile, ALA is the type of Omega-3 that is found in plant-based foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. The interesting thing about ALA is that your body doesn’t use it in its original form. Instead, ALA is converted to either EPA or DHA after consumption. However, the rate at which your body can complete this conversion is often low, which means plant-based foods aren’t usually the most efficient way to nourish your body with omega-3s.
Omega-6 fatty acids are the more common type of essential fatty acid. They are found in a larger variety of foods, including cooking oils as well as many processed and fried foods. With that being said, your body needs them in much smaller amounts, and consuming too much omega-6 can have negative effects on your health.
One type of omega-6 fatty acid, known as linoleic acid (LA), is particularly important for your body. LA is found in a variety of plant-based oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil, and your body needs it in order to properly synthesize non-essential fatty acids, which are the ones your body can produce on its own.
The Perfect Ratio of Essential Fatty Acids
Now that you know what the different types of essential fatty acids are, it’s important to understand that you don’t need them in equal amounts. In fact, it’s recommended to maintain a balanced ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. Generally, the recommended ratio is 2:1; however, the average diet of the American adult contains a ratio of about 15:1. This means that it’s very likely your diet contains too many omega-6s and not enough omega-3s.
You’re probably wondering why this balance is so important. It all has to do with how your body processes and uses essential fatty acids. Both omega-3 and omega-6 are converted into other acids, like arachidonic acid (AA), before they can be used by the body. These conversion processes are reliant on specific enzymes, which both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids compete to use. This means when your diet is heavily packed with one kind, the other can be inhibited from accessing the enzymes and won’t be converted.
Essential Fatty Acids In Your Diet
Curious about what foods are the best sources of essential fatty acids? Here’s a quick breakdown.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in…
- Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies;
- Chia Seeds;
- Blue-green algae like chlorella, spirulina, or aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA).
Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in…
- Cooking oils like safflower, sunflower, and corn oil;
- Nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and pine nuts;
- Meat and poultry, particularly chicken and beef.
Find a Balance of Essential Fatty Acids
There is no doubt that essential fatty acids are vital nutrients for living a long, healthy life. So, it’s time to ask yourself, does your diet contain a healthy balance of these important nutrients? If not, it may be time to find balance.
If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to provide your body with the right balance of healthy fats, look no further than a superfood supplement like Mind from New Earth.
This powerful and exclusive supplement is made with a single ingredient—organic Wild Microalgae®, which is a near perfect superfood. This rare type of blue-green algae not only contains both types of essential fatty acids, but it has them in an ideal 2:1 ratio. Plus, it is also loaded with other important nutrients like amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more! With all that in a single capsule, adding Mind to your routine is the perfect way to nourish and support your body each and every day.
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At New Earth we are on a mission to positively impact the health of every body and soul we come in contact with. We specialize in producing third-party certified, organic whole food supplements including a variety of probiotics, and digestive support. Our supplements feature a rare, yet highly nutritious superfood, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Also known as organic Wild Microalgae®, AFA is a unique type of microalgae that is available in many forms including tablets, capsules, and powders all designed to help you on your journey to holistic wellness. The best part? We offer a 90-day money-back risk-free guarantee on all of our products. Visit our website to learn more.