Essential Fatty Acids are a Natural Way to Nourish the Skin

To achieve healthy, glowing skin at any age your body needs the right balance of nutrients to nourish and lubricate cells from inside out. A natural way to bring out the best in your skin is to include more essential fatty acids in the diet. Commonly referred to as “good” fats, essential fatty acids (EFA) are omega 3 and omega 6 unsaturated oils needed in the diet in amounts necessary to regulate complex chemical processes, for optimal health. Because our bodies cannot manufacture these fatty acids on their own we must obtain them in the foods we eat or in the form of supplements.

Why Your Skin Demands Omega 3 and 6 Essential Fatty Acids

Your skin speaks to you from the inside out by sending signals through your skin. Dry, patchy skin, and brittle hair and nails are big signals that an individual’s diet is in serious need of change. The saying “you are what you eat” sounds cliché, but is a truth. Our skin literally reflects how our bodies process the foods we eat every day and then displays the result, outwardly, through our skin. Just as too much refined, sugary foods and drinks cause a build-up of inflammation within tissue cells, so too is our internal state represented on the outside, in the form of acne blemishes.

Be mindful that dry skin has less protection from the harsh outside elements than supple, moist skin. The skin is not only the largest organ of the body, but the first line of defence against allergens and invading organisms (pathogens). When it is dry, our skin becomes susceptible to breaks, cuts and infections.

The less supple our skin is, the more we are prone to early signs of aging. Unwanted premature wrinkling is never a good sign of health and is unattractive.

Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids help the skin secrete natural oils for lubrication, protection, and a radiant glow. The oils produced are non-comedogenic (not clogging) to the pores because they are actually composed of the same oils naturally secreted by the sebaceous glands. Balanced with other nutrients, adequate water intake, and regular exercise your skin will show exactly how you are feeling on the inside.

How Essential Fatty Acids Work

Fat is composed of fatty acids and they perform a number of functions in the body. They also offer the most concentrated source of energy of all nutrients (9 kcal per gram) and therefore for weight purposes should be eaten in the recommended amounts, which fit into your individual needs.

The essential fatty acids needed in our bodies are omega-6 (linoleic) and omega-3 (linolenic) acids. Every cell in our bodies is surrounded by a membrane composed of fatty acids. It is these fatty acids that allow fluid exchange of nutrients into the cell and waste matter out of the cell. Cells without a healthy membrane lose their ability to hold water and therefore vital nutrients.

Fatty acids are classified as either saturated or unsaturated fat. Saturated fats are generally of animal origin and solid at room temperature, like butter. We commonly refer to saturated fats as “bad” fats, which are responsible for cardiovascular diseases and strokes, and are unfortunately a big part of many Western and European diets. Fast food restaurants are big sellers of saturated fats. This type of fat causes our bodies to develop conditions of inflammation, excessive blood clotting, high cholesterol, and cancer growth.

These conditions create a toxic internal environment that, not surprisingly, shows up on the surface of the skin, giving a dull, unnatural, uneven complexion. According to the U.S. recommended daily allowance (RDA) this group of saturated foods should be limited to only 10% of our diet.

Unlike saturated fats, “good” fats reduce inflammation; they maintain the fluidity in your cell membrane, and increases immune protection. An unsaturated fatty acid has one or more places on its chain where hydrogen is missing, called point/s of unsaturation; this composite is easier for our bodies to use.

Two main categories of unsaturated fats are: (1) monounsaturated fat, and (2) polyunsaturated fat. A good fats list is presented here, which includes a list of essential fatty acids. Foods and supplements are conveniently obtained from grocery stores and natural supplements shops:

Foods High in Monounsaturated Fat (Omega-3)

    Hemp seed
    Flaxseed (linseed)
    Mustard seed
    Green leafy vegetable
    Fish (cod, halibut, salmon, sardines)
    Pecan Nuts

Good Sources of Supplements:

    Best Fish Oil
    Flaxseed (linseed) oil
    Hemp oil
    Rapeseed oil (Canola)
    Walnut oil

Foods High in Polyunsaturated Fat (Omega-6)


Good Sources and Supplements:

    Evening Primrose oil
    Sunflower Seed oil
    Safflower oil
    Corn oil
    Soya oil
    Wheat Germ oil

You can incorporate both polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats in the diet in sufficient quantities with no fear of ill health. Supplement dosages may vary for each type of oil and we recommend that you check amounts before administering.

Vegans and other classes of vegetarians receive good quantities of omegas into their diet. However, supplementation to receive optimum amounts of these fatty acids is recommended for everyone, regardless of diet.

With a little planning and self -discipline we can nourish our skin naturally. Choose one or more of the essential fatty acids to mix into your meal plan today and start reaping the benefits of supple skin. With the right balance of nutrients and regular exercise you will be well on your way to a more radiant you.

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