Care of Nimisha Raja and Karen Soper

This month, we’ve got a basic reminder on the importance of Omega Fatty Acids. These are referred to as the Omega 3 and 6 fats that are healthy and good for you. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are not manufactured by the body – hence they must be acquired from the diet.

Some of the functions of healthy fats in our bodies include:
•    Transporting essential fat-soluable vitamins D,E,A, and K,
•    Enhancing and maintaining normal brain development and functioning,
•    Contributing to cell membrane flexibility and selective permeability (keeping healthy products in and cellular debris and toxins out),
•    Improving the body’s health by increasing metabolic rate, energy production and oxygen intake.
•    Contributing to the production of hormone like substances called prostaglandins (which regulate hormonal levels).

A common misconception is that people need to consume fish oil to get their omega 3.  However instead of consuming the fish itself, the direct source of EPA is actually the algae that fish eat, so we can actually supplement with spirulina and microalgae products (even wakame seaweed is very high in EPA). Omega 3 is also found in flax, walnut and hemp oils.

Information about the ratios of omega 3 and 6 can sometimes be confusing so simply put – the focus needs to be on acquiring omega 3.  Omega 6 is everywhere in our diets (sesame oil, sunflower oil, legumes, nuts, seeds). To really see the benefits a consistent dose of a tablespoon of cold-pressed flax seed oil is a really healthy addition to the daily vegetarian diet.