Are Essential Fatty Acids Good For You?

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) provide your body with the necessary building blocks for cell growth, repair, and normal function. They are considered “essential” because they are necessary for your body to function properly. Essential fatty acids have many positive benefits and are very good for your body and skin.

What Do Essential Fatty Acids Do?

Essential fatty acids have many positive effects on your body. Essential fatty acids are considered to be “good fats” and are vital for your body to function properly. EFAs have many functions in the body:

  • Strengthen Cell Membranes – As we age, the cells in our body continue to break down. This can leave us feeling fragile and tired. Essential fatty acids strengthen these membranes. This helps your cells to stay younger, which gives you more energy and helps you to feel younger as well.
  • Reduce Inflammation – Essential fatty acids play a role in the reduction of inflammation in your body. They also help to prevent heart disease and cancer and have a role in the regulation of blood clotting and proper thyroid/adrenal activity.
  • Prevent Visible Signs of Aging – Supplementing with foods rich in essential fatty acids or using EFA supplements are also great for your hair and skin. EFAs can significantly slow down or reverse visible signs of aging. They keep your skin hydrated, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They keep your hair silky and smooth by promoting blood circulation and cell growth.

What Foods Provide Essential Fatty Acids?

Essential nutrients cannot be produced by your body and so they must come from your food, which is why a healthy, balanced diet is so important. Eating foods rich in essential fatty acids is an important part of a healthy diet. Luckily, we can get an adequate amount of EFAs by consuming the right foods The following are examples of foods rich in essential fatty acids:

  • Nuts and seeds – flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, and walnuts 
  • Dark green vegetables – kale, parsley, chard, edamame, and collard greens
  • Fish – herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna, and sardines
  • Plant oils – soybean oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil

What are the Best Essential Fatty Acid Supplements?

Not all essential fatty acids have to come from the foods you eat. Health food stores sell EFAs in the form of pills and liquids. It’s best to look for brands that contain omega-3s and omega-6s as free fatty acids or triglycerides or phospholipids. 

Flaxseed oil is a good source of EFAs and it comes in pill form and also liquid form. Because you have to take many pills to get the same concentration of EFA as the liquid, the liquid form might be a better option. Fish oils are another source of essential fatty acids that are also available in pill or liquid form.

Is it possible to have an essential fatty acid deficiency?

Although a deficiency is rare, it is possible to have a deficiency. Warning signs that you might not be getting enough EFAs include dry, scaly skin, intellection dysfunction, problems focusing, and mood changes. Essential fatty acid deficiency can put you at risk for other health issues, including inflammatory bowel disease and cystic fibrosis. EFA deficiency can be reversed over time by including foods rich in essential fats in your diet or by supplementing with pills or oils. 

Essential fatty acids benefit the body in many ways. They build up in the body over time, and it may take several weeks or months to notice a difference when you start including them in your diet or daily supplements. EFAs are necessary for proper body function, so it’s important to be sure you’re getting an adequate amount through diet or supplementation.