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What are essential fatty acids?

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It is quite a pity that fats have earned a reputation to be bad for health but that is not entirely true. Certain types of fat are not only good for your health but are in fact essential. Linolenic acid and Linoleic acid are two such fatty acids which cannot be made by the body and hence needs to be added through the diet. Linolenic Acid and Linoleic acid is important to produce omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which is essential for the normal functioning of all tissues in the body.
Food sources rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids include:

  • Fish, shellfish
  • Soya Oil
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Walnuts

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) perform many functions.

  • They are an important part of cell membranes.
  • Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are required in the production of prostaglandins which is present in all cells and are responsible for many functions at cellular level and regulate many body processes such as: cardiovascular function, immune system processes and maintenance of the musculoskeletal system.
  • Regulate oxygen use, electron transportation and energy production
  • Essential fatty acids are important to produce Haemoglobin
  • Support the production of secretions of digestive enzymes.
  • These fatty acids help carry the cholesterol in the blood.

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