There has just been but a trickle of hot weather this summer, yet many of us have started on our regular summer fare of barbecues and salads. The fatty meats that tastes so good from the grill and the dressings that, well, dresses up our salads all contribute fats to our diet. So here is a quick review of fats and our health.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are part of every healthy cell, but they can’t be produced by the body. EFAs must be consumed through food or supplements. There are two major types of essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish and some plant oils. Not only are omega-3 fatty acids beneficial for a healthy heart, they also play a part in improving brain function ( learning ) and visual acuity.
Omega-6 fatty acids are very common, found in cooking oils such as sunflower and corn oils, plentiful in grain fed meats and in egg yolks. They play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. They help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system.
Both types of fatty acids are easily found in the foods we eat everyday. The question then is what do we do to make our eating choices healthier. The answer is balance. It is how much of each type of fatty acid we eat that affect our health. With our meat and oils heavy diet, we are consuming too much omega-6 fatty acids. This leads to all the bad things we associate with fats – deteriorated blood circulation, leading to strokes, heart disease, and blindness.
Since we consume lots of foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids, we should emphasize eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Common sources are from oily fish like sardines, salmon, trout and mackerel, oils from flax seed, canola seed, grape seed and olives and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and raw spinach and lettuces. If taste preferences or availability is an issue, then supplements of omega-3 is easy to introduce into our lifestyle and found in the the vitamin section of our pharmacy.
If you have more questions please ask our pharmacists. Direct phone number is 604-274-7878. While consulting the pharmacist, be sure to ask about our Medication Review service from Pharmacare.