Fatty acids are important for all systems of the body to function normally, including your skin, respiratory system, circulatory system, brain and organs. There are two fatty acids, termed essential fatty acids (EFA) that your body does not produce on its own. EFAs have to be ingested.
The two essential fatty acids that the human body cannot produce are the omega-3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid, which are important for brain development, immune system function and blood pressure regulation.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Omega-3 fatty acid (Alpha-linolenic acid) is an essential fatty acid that plays an important role in brain function and may help you fight against cardiovascular disease.
Research on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid have shown that it may be useful for supporting: Asthma, Diabetes, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Some Cancers, Skin Disorders, High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Attention Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Macular Degeneration, Digestive Difficulties.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in: Grains, Spirulina, Brazil Nuts, Hempseed Oil, Mustard Seed, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seed Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Canola Oil (Rapeseed), Green Leafy Vegetables, Raw Walnuts & Walnut Oil, Flaxseeds or Flaxseed Oil.
Omega-6 Fatty Acid
Omega-6 fatty acid (Linoleic Acid) combined with omega-3 fatty acid produces many of the health benefits described above, but the trickiest part about playing the fatty acid game is that it is best to eat them in the right amounts.
You should be eating about twice as much omega-6 as omega-3, so that your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is 2:1.
The best sources of omega-6 are seeds, nuts and grains and green leafy vegetables, like lettuce, broccoli, and kale, and in certain raw vegetable oils. Care should be taken to use raw cold pressed vegetable oils because cooking destroys the benefits of the fatty acids.
Omega-6 fatty acids are also found naturally in Olive Oil, Wheatgerm, Grapeseeds, Pistachios, Sesame Oil, Hempsteed Oil, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seed Oil, Safflower Oil, Sunflower Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Raw Nuts & Seeds.
Omega-9 Fatty Acid
Omega-9, or monounsaturated oleic and stearic acid, is a non essential fatty acid produced naturally by the body whenever there is enough of either Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids.
If you do not have enough omega 3 and omega 6, then you must get omega 9 from your diet.
This fatty acid plays a role in promoting heart health by supporting healthy, balanced cholesterol levels and improving immune function.
Omega-9 fatty acids are naturally found in Avocados, Pecans, Cashews, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Pistachios, Macadamia Nuts, Chia Seed Oil and Olives & Olive Oil
What is EPA and DHA?
Within the body omega-3 fatty acids are converted to DHA and EPA (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, respectively). DHA and EPA are highly unsaturated fats that play very important roles in the vision development and brain function of infants.