Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are both by name and definition essential to good health. Specifically, they are healthy fats that your body needs, but can’t produce on its own. Therefore, EFAs must be consumed in the foods we eat or the supplements we take.
Why are these essential fatty acids so essential to our systems? And, how do they promote a healthy body and healthy skin? Here are 5 facts about EFAs that build a solid case for their status as truly healthy fats.
- EFAs offer a wide range of health benefits. They have been instrumental in promoting heart health, lowering levels of inflammation, managing the symptoms of autoimmune disorders, and reducing hypertension.
- EFAs are unsaturated fats. This means they do not become solid at room temperature, like their saturated-fat counterparts (think olive oil vs. bacon grease).
- You can find EFAs in a variety of healthy foods. There are high levels of EFAs in cold-water fish (salmon and herring), dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, and broccoli), nuts (almonds and walnuts), seeds (flax and pumpkin), healthy oils (olive oil and flaxseed oil), and whole grains. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish two times a week to boost your EFA levels.
- EFAs lower low-density lipoproteins (or LDLs). LDL cholesterol has become known as the “bad cholesterol,” because it can contribute to the formation of plaque that can cause blockages in the heart.
- EFAs are building blocks for cellular structure. When used both internally and externally, EFAs help to create a solid foundation for healthy skin, leading to firmness, proper hydration, and helping to promote circulation for a glowing complexion. Further, the anti-inflammatory properties of oils, such as flaxseed oil, borage seed oil, and evening oil of primrose, help to reduce skin blemishes and irritations.