Foods that contain Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

Theres a bit of talk about EFA’s here is some info for you

Essential fatty acids serve crucial functions in growth and development. They are required for the maintenance of every cell in your body. Your body cannot synthesize essential fatty acids, so you depend on the food you eat for the essential fatty acids your body requires. You need to get a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. A variety of foods can provide the essential fatty acids your body craves.

Seafood
Many types of fish and seafood are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Deep-water fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel burst with omega-3, and are low in omega-6. Anchovies, sardines, cod, halibut, herring, mullet and trout also are rich in omega-3. Other pleasures from the sea that increase your omega-3s include shrimp, Alaskan king crab and mollusks.

Fresh Fruit
Both cantaloupe and papaya have more omega-3 than omega-6 acids, helping to restore the imbalance that most Westerners have. Papaya has four times as much omega-3 as omega-6 fatty acids, according to Self Nutrition Data. (for information about Avacados see below)

Vegetables
Several vegetables serve as reasonable sources of omega-3 acids. Dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, spinach and seaweed, increase your omega-3 acids when eaten routinely. Other green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, grape leaves, Chinese cabbage, parsley and spring greens also provide omega-3 acids. Cauliflower and winter squash aren’t green, but they still enhance your essential fatty acid balance.

Oils
Not all oils are created equal. The primary source of omega-6 fatty acids in Western diets is from nuts and seeds, oils extracted from nuts and seeds and vegetable oil, according to health and nutrition expert Dr. Andrew Weil. Weil reports that soybean oil has so inundated the diet through its use in fast foods, snack foods, crackers, cookies and sweets that it now accounts for 20 percent of the calories in Americans’ diet.

On the other hand, flax oil and olive oil provide significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil adds a robust nutty flavor to your cooking, and unlike many other cooking oils, enhances your heart-health. A study on flax oil, reported at AskDrSears.com, found those children who ate a half-teaspoon of flax oil every day had fewer missed school days and fewer, less severe respiratory infections. The website suggests that one way to enhance omega-3 intake is to mix in 1 to 3 tsp. of flax oil into a yogurt and fruit smoothie.

Seeds and Nuts
Whether you eat them as a snack or use them to add crunch to your salad, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts increase your omega-3. Other nuts, such as hazelnuts, cashews, almonds and Brazils, provide omega-6 fatty acids, but only trace amounts of omega-3 acid, according to AnnCollins.com.

Legumes
Legumes such as pinto, kidney and mungo beans provide essential fatty acids in a favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, especially when you use dried rather than canned beans.

I’m also going to pop in here Avacados separately…

Avocados
The avocado, a fatty tropical fruit known for its buttery texture and mild flavor, is a popular component of healthy cuisine throughout the world. In addition to supplying folate, potassium, vitamin C and several other important nutrients, an avocado is an excellent source of essential fatty acids. Those consuming a restricted or vegan diet can benefit from the use of avocado to supply these critical compounds.

Alpha-Linolenic Acid
According to NutritionData.com, a 1-cup serving of avocado contains 253 milligrams of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. This essential fatty acid offers several important benefits for the heart, joints and central nervous system. However, avocados contain a fairly small amount compared to a person’s total need for the compound.

Linoleic Acid
One serving of avocado contains a generous 3886 milligrams of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. This essential fatty acid, found in most high-fat foods, enables many essential functions within the human body. Nevertheless, the fats found in avocado are predominantly monounsaturated and present a healthier alternative to cheeses and butters.

Oleic Acid
Avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid also found in olive oil. In April 2009, the BBC reported that this healthy fat compound can enhance memory and brain activity; early evidence also suggests that it may improve cholesterol levels.

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