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Essential Fatty Acids – What Are They?

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If you want to maintain a healthy weight, or shed unwanted pounds, you have to eat a balanced diet.

Your body needs to get enough of various different minerals, vitamins, and nutrients each day. It also needs protein, carbohydrates, and yes, even certain fats, especially essential fatty acids.

You may not have even heard of essential fatty acids (EFAs) before. I know I hadn’t heard of them until I really started to focus on my own weight loss and nutrition goals. But once I found out that they exist, I quickly learned just how essential they are.

What Essential Fatty Acids Are

To put it simply, EFAs are very specific types of healthy fats. Unlike some necessary substances, EFAs can’t be made by our bodies. So, if you don’t eat enough foods that have a lot of these special healthy fats, your body will experience a deficiency. That could do a lot of damage to your system. In fact, it could eventually even kill you.

Identifying These Healthy Fats

As soon as I discovered how important EFAs were I made it my mission to identify them and start making sure that I incorporate them into my diet. How Many EFAs are there? Well, it all depends on your point of view.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is possibly the most essential of all, but there are also docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and a number of other Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to consider. All of them are important, but the thing that makes ALA extra special is that, after we consume it, our bodies can turn it into EPA and DHA, if necessary.

I quickly learned that Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are mainly found in fish, but AHA can also be found in canola oil, olive oil, and walnuts. EFAs can also be taken in supplement pill form. Some foods, like milk and eggs, may even have EFAs added to them.

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How These Healthy Fats Can Help with Weight Loss

There is strong evidence to support the idea that eating more Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can actually decrease the bad cholesterol in our bodies. In other words, the healthy fats can help up to get rid of the unhealthy fats faster.

Another great thing about EFAs is that they can make your kidneys function better. That means that excess water and some toxins will be moved out of your body at a faster rate. That, of course, will help you to lose some weight.

If that isn’t enough of a reason to get more EFAs in your daily diet, think about the fact that they also help to speed up your metabolism. Think of your metabolism as being a bit like your body’s engine. If the engine is working at its fastest, it can burn through fuel faster. That means that you’ll burn calories more efficiently and, in the process, you’ll lose weight.

Essential fatty acids are also a great source of vitamins. In fact, cod liver oil, which is rich in essential fatty acids, has been used as a medicinal remedy since the 1800s in England, thanks to its high levels of vitamin D. Vitamins are very important in order to maintain your health, especially when you are trying to lose weight.

Cutting Back on Cravings

One last bonus of including more EFAs in your daily diet is that they can regulate your blood sugar. That means that you’ll be less likely to develop diabetes. It also means that you won’t have as many cravings for unhealthy between meal snacks. So,

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