When trying to achieve and maintain a healthier lifestyle many people cut out all fats from their daily diet. This can have dangerous results for our bodies. Our bodies require Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) for proper development. Without these “good” fats our bodies just won’t run as efficiently. The most common reason for being EFA deficient is a dislike of fish. The two foods with the highest levels of EFA’s are in fact plant based. Great news for non-fish lovers!
Essential Fatty Acids are healthy fats that help to fight against and decrease the amount of bad cholesterol and trans fats. EFA’s actually compete with these animal based fats at the same time as producing HDL (high density lipoprotein).
One of the main jobs of this “good cholesterol” (HDL) is to capture the “bad cholesterol” (LDL) so it can be broken down and removed from our bodies.
Other benefits of higher levels of Essential Fatty Acids in our body includes:
- the prevention of blood clotting excessively
- the reduction of the growth of cancer cells
- the prevention of arteries from thickening
- and the improvement of cardiovascular functioning
It is imperative that our daily diet includes EFA’s to not only combat past damage done by unhealthy eating and lifestyle choices but also to help maintain the healthiest, disease fighting body going forward.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that at least 2% of total daily calories come from Essential Fatty Acids. What this means is, a person eating 2000 calories a day should eat 4 grams of EFA’s.
How can this be accomplished? Include some of these top 5 foods with healthy Essential Fatty Acids in your daily meals;
1) Flax/Chia Seed (ground)
Depends who you listen to, flax and chia are arguably the highest source of EFA’s with just 2Tbs providing over 130% of our daily requirement (probably even less than that for chia)!
These wonderful ground seeds can easily be added to cereals, smoothies, juices, soups, and baked goods. For the freshest possible source, invest in a coffee grinder and grind your own daily from the whole seed, and use immediately.
Dr. Oz Chia Seeds Video
Just 1/4 cup of walnuts provides almost 95% of the suggested daily amount of EFA’s. These tasty morsels add an incredible dimension to salads and also a great choice for a “grab and go” snack for busy days.
While not as tasty as pecans (IMO) they sure pack a nutritional punch!
3) Salmon and Sardines
I know, I know, people don’t want to be eating the fish found in our waters these days (in general), but I needed to include them for completion. Mercury and other nasty pollutants aside…
If you are a fish lover, these two options are your best “bang for your buck” when looking at EFA levels. Anywhere between 3 & 4oz will provide 55-61% of your daily intake. Other fish and seafood are also good sources in EFA’s including shrimp, scallops, and tuna.
4) Grass-Fed Beef
Enjoy a 4oz steak of this variety and you will have just attained almost 46% of your daily intake. Be sure to know the source of your beef and always insist on grass-fed only. The benefits are worth the extra amount you pay your butcher!
Surprisingly just 2tsp of cloves adds almost 8% of the recommended daily amount of EFA’s. Freshly ground and added into chili, hot breakfast cereal, soups, and stews this spice both kicks up the flavour and your level of EFA’s. Again, invest in a coffee grinder for the freshest source of this wonder spice.
There are many foods available that will greatly boost your daily intake of EFA’s. These are the top 5 according to their Daily Value (D.V.) percentages. With only two of the top 5 sources coming from the animal kingdom, maintaining healthy levels of these “good” fats is an easily attainable goal for everyone striving to live a healthier lifestyle.