You’ve probably read about or heard about fatty acids or healthy fats. Essential fatty acids have many important roles in the body. Here are some of the main ones:
- Quell inflammation
- Strengthen and support the adrenal and thyroid glands
- Protect nerves and the brain
- Maintain healthy heart and artery function
- Maintain healthy skin
- Help balance hormones
Most cells in the body use essential fatty acids to ensure proper fluidity. For example, most people eat excessive amounts of harmful saturated fats found in meat in their diet. This high level of saturated fat combined with our typically low levels of essential fatty acids can result in cells that are excessively fluid, and may be more vulnerable to damaging toxins in the body.
The brain is approximately 60% fat and needs essential fatty acids to ensure proper brain health. Brain and nerve cells require proper cellular fluidity to function properly. Changes in cellular fluidity of these cells can impact behavior, mood, and even mental functioning.
If your diet contains trans fats, the harmful chemically-altered fats found in many types of margarine, baked goods, prepared and fast foods, then you need to know that not only do these fats replace beneficial ones needed for the healthy functioning of your body, they may cause serious damage.
There are many different types of fatty acids, including: Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9, and others. There are many symptoms and signs that you may be deficient in one or more essential fatty acid. Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that you are definitely deficient if you have one or more of these symptoms.
If you have any symptoms, you should consult your physician.
- Dry or scaly skin
- Eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis
- Dry eyes or tear ducts
- Dry hair, split ends, or abnormal hair loss
- Brittle or cracked nails
- Dry mouth or throat, especially when speaking
- Slow healing wounds or injuries
- Bleeding gums or tendency to bruise easily
- Frequent colds, flu, or other infections
- Attention deficit disorder or short attention span
- Overweight or obesity
- Women: PMS, difficulty getting pregnant or carrying to full-term
Essential fatty acids are obtained through eating foods like avocados, flax seeds, olive oil, wild salmon, raw nuts, raw seeds, and other foods that contain high amounts of fats.
Michelle Schoffro Cook