Health benefits of essential fatty acids in the diet that have been described in the medical literature (in adults unless otherwise stated):
- Lowering of serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Lowers the risk of heart disease and death from heart disease
- Improved symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis patients
- Reduced the frequency and severity of migraine headaches
- May help prevent and arrest growth of breast, colon, prostate, and pancreatic cancers
- Possible lower incidence of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
- May improve skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis
- May be protective in the development of asthma
- May be beneficial in children with attention deficit disorder
Essential Fatty Acid Supplements:
- Flaxseed oil. This is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. It must be refrigerated. Cooking destroys the fatty acid. Mix with foods like yogurt or smoothie drinks for adults or older children. Add to already cooked vegetables or pasta or add it as part of your salad dressings. The Optomega from USANA has a higher ratio of omega-3 than other flaxseed type oils and can be ordered online.
- Fish oil. A source of omega-3 fatty acids. Not very palatable to children.
Other omega-3 sources:
- Use canola oil (cold-pressed or unrefined canola oils have more antioxidants and flavonoids) or olive oil ( extra-virgin olive oil has more omega-3 and the least omega-6) for recipes that call for a vegetable oil. Canola oil should be refrigerated.
- Free-range eggs contain more omega-3 fatty acids than the usual supermarket eggs. There are also omega-3 enriched eggs available at the health food stores and even at some regular grocery stores.
- Flaxseeds or flaxmeal (ground flaxseeds) can be sprinkled on cereals, yogurt, or salads and added to the batter of breads, muffins, pancakes, and cakes. They should be refrigerated or frozen.
- Fish with essential fats include fresh and canned tuna, salmon, mackerel, flounder, sardines, and herring. See the issues about mercury and fish to help you decide safe fish for children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.