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EFA's

Plant oils are an amazingly concentrated source of nutrients needed for life. These include vitamins, minerals and most important of all, a group of substances known as essential fatty acids (EFAs).

EFAs are important for the proper functioning of the immune system, brain health, wound healing and for insulating nerves. They are found in every cell in the body but we cannot make them ourselves. As a result, they need to be present in our diet. The modern day diet of convenience and processed foods often leaves us lacking the EFAs we need. Deficiencies in EFAs have been associated with a wide range of degenerative disorders such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and various allergies.

Common symptoms of an EFA deficiency are dry and cracking skin, slow wound healing, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, digestive disturbances and hormonal problems.

For the body to function properly there are two essential fatty acids we must eat. These are called Alpha Linolenic acid or ALA - Omega 3 - and Linoleic Acid or LA - Omega 6. Since the 1900's our 'modern diet' has included far less Omega 3 fatty acids, although our Omega 6 intake has not been affected and this fatty acid is more common in our diets. Nutritionists have linked the reduced intake of Omega 3 with the increased prevalence of 'degenerative disorders'.

For example in 1900, 1 in 30 deaths in the USA were from cancer and 14% died from cardiovascular disease. Recent figures from the University of Michigan, state that 1 in 4 deaths in the USA are from cancer and 42% of Americans die from cardiovascular disease. The pattern is repeated throughout the world. Degenerative disorders include heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, allergies, and rheumatism. There is now significant evidence that deficiencies in the EFAs of Omega 3 and Omega 6, are one of the causes of these disorders.

Good sources of the talked about 'Omega 3' are Flax Seed Oil and Hemp Seed Oil. Flax Seed Oil is high in this EFA and well recognized in the field of nutrition. However for these Omega 3 and Omega 6 EFAs to exert their full health benefits, they need to be present in our bodies in the correct ratios. The generally accepted ideal ratio is 3:1 - a ratio that Hemp Seed Oil, can provide in perfect balance.

 

Reference:

Erasmus, U. 1989. Fats that heal, Fats that kill. Alive Books, Canada

Horrobin D.F., 1982. Essential Fatty Acids - A Review; in Clinical Uses of Essential Fatty Acids. London, England. Eden Press

Lees and Karel, M. 1990. Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Health and Disease. Basel, Switzerland. Dekker.