EFAs or essential fatty acids play a very important role in different body functions like cell maintenance, brain development, transportation of oxygen from the lungs to the bloodstream, regulation of metabolism and mood, regulation of insulin sensitivity, as well as hormone production. Especially because they can help with anabolic hormone production, decrease the inflammatory process and help in protein breakdown, they are extremely important to athletes and people doing intense physical activity.
There is only one problem – your body can’t synthesize essential fatty acids, they have to be taken from the food or in the form of supplements. Studies have shown that most of the people tend to get 10 to 20 times more omega 6 than omega 3 fatty acids, which means they have a shortage of omega 3 fatty acids in their diet.
To be sure you are getting enough EFAs, it’s not a bad idea to add these foods to your diet:
1. Fish and seafood
Most of the seafood and fish are very good sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Species like salmon, sardines, herring, mullet and shrimps are high in Omega 3 and protein, and low in Omega 6. Just 4 oz of salmon has about 85% of the recommended dietary allowance of Omega 3. A good alternative is also a fish oil supplement, which can cover all your daily needs.
2. Seeds and Nuts
These are great sources of essential fatty acids in general. They contain raw material for anabolic hormone production in both men and women. Just 1/4 cup of walnuts contains about 95% of the recommended dietary allowance for omega 3. Seeds and nuts also contain minerals such as zinc and magnesium that regulate many body functions. Flax seeds are also a great source of EFAs. Just a few of their health benefits include: lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and reducing hot flashes.
A few fruits like avocado, papaya and acai berries are a great sources of omega 3 fatty acids. All of them have more omega 3 than omega 6, so you can eat them to restore the imbalance between these two acids.
When eaten regularly, several green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and parsley can increase your omega 3 acid levels. High doses of EFAs can also be found in vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage. One cup of cauliflower contains about 10 % of the RDA of EFAs. Besides the fatty acids, parsley, cauliflower and the cabbage all have chemicals that can detoxify and clean the body from toxic chemicals by increasing the production of certain enzymes.