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For a long time, you may have heard that "fats are fatal" and until recently, everyone believed it and tried, successfully or not, to avoid fats in their diet. However, scientists now understand the critical health and beauty benefits of a certain type of amazingly good fats: the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). EFAs used to be named Vitamin F and are called Essential because they are critical for your survival and your body simply cannot produce them, so they have to come from your diet and your beauty products. Coming from within or without, EFAs are your beauty's best friend as they protect, nourish and balance the growth and regeneration of your skin, hair and nails. Learn here about the wonders EFAs can do for you and what are the best sources for the most precious allies of your beauty, health and youth.

The wonders EFAs can do for your health and beauty

EFAs group contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are like catalyzers and help the assimilation of other fatty vitamins like A, B4, D, E, K, I and J. They can be converted into breakdown products which can either ignite or quell inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of most chronic medical conditions from arthritis and acne to cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. At a more global and damaging level, inflammation is the culprit in the aging process of your skin, hair and whole body. Therefore, the dietary balance of omega-3 and omega-6 has enormous importance for your health. In excess, omega-6 drives the production of inflammatory chemicals. On the other hand, omega-3 and its metabolism products, eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA and DHA) reduce the production of most inflammatory molecules. Today, our Western diet is overwhelmed with omega-6 and very poor in omega-3, at a ratio going from 10 to 30 times more omega-6 than omega-3, while in the past, it was more or less balanced half and half. Read on to find good sources for each type of EFAs in the next paragraph.

However, to complicate things a little further, a specific omega-6 EFA called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) derived from Evening Primerose, Borage, Black Currant or Wild Musk Rose (Rosa mosqueta) seed oils, stimulates the formation of anti-inflammatory molecules. Clinical studies have demonstrated the benefits of GLA in reducing inflammation, promoting healthy skin and hair and decreasing the risk of many diseases.

Altogether, we need about 12 to 25 g of EFAs a day. Here are a few reasons for why EFAs are absolutely indispensable for your health and beauty:
  1. they are crucial constituents of the healthy cell membrane
  2. they protect very efficiently your skin from dryness, aging and eczema
  3. they regulate the metabolism of bad fats which are toxic for the heart
  4. they trigger the metabolism of fat and help shed body fat
  5. they reduce the level of cholesterol
  6. they stimulate the tissues regeneration and rejuvenation
  7. they lower the risk of thrombosis and cancer
  8. they prevent heart diseases, allergies and autoimmune diseases
  9. they regulate the body temperature
  10. they stimulate the body defenses against external pollutions (environmental pollution, toxic chemicals, drugs, etc..)
  11. they are the building blocks for vital healthy molecules called Prostaglandins (see below) and lots of hormones
  12. they protect fertility and promote a healthy pregnancy
  13. they are essential to babies' development
  14. they are essential molecules for the development and maintenance of the brain
  15. they protect the digestive system

Where to find the precious EFAs?

A good diet should provide you with appropriate amounts of EFAs. However, be very aware of the quality of foods you are consuming as it's crucial to your omega-3 and omega-6 healthy balance of equal amounts of each type. Here is a simple list of where to find both types of EFAs.
Omega-3 EFAs
are found in cold water oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, black raspberry, lingonberry, acai berry, grass-fed cow milk, eggs.
Omega-6 EFAs
are found in most vegetable oils: evening primrose oil, borage oil, blackcurrant oil, Wild Musk Rose oil, argan oil, flax/linseed oil, hemp oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower seed oil, corn oil, safflower oil, avocado, poultry, cereals, eggs, whole grain breads, baked goods, nuts, pumpkin seeds, acai berry.