"Enough?!?!" most of us would exclaim. "I need to get rid of my fat!"
While it's true that our nation has its share of overweight people, likely even in Chicago, being fat with the right fats - essential fatty acids (EFAs) - may make you healthier, smarter and happier.
Fats are chief components of membranes affecting the health of our brains, hearts, immunity, and body organs and tissues. We need fats, but we need to be sure we have enough of the right fats in the right balance. The important right fats are essential fatty acids (EFAs), those that are required for good health but which the body cannot make. Essential fatty acids must come via food (when we eat the right foods!) or supplementation.
There are two prominent groups of essential fatty acids - Omega-3 and Omega-6. You might have heard about Omega-9 acids as well, but the body can produce them when essential EFAs are available. The focus is then on Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids. A balance of these two is important to enhance their benefits.
How We Use Essential Fatty Acids in Everyday Chicago Life
The principal Omega-3 fatty acid is ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which a healthy person converts into other Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The principal Omega-6 fatty acid is linoleic acid which changes into GLA (gamma linoleic acid) which coordinates with EPA in organ function and cellular activity. Essential fatty acids manufacture and repair cell membranes.
Essential fatty acids work together. For example, Omega-6 fatty acids activate inflammatory reactions in response to infection and healing while Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and deactivate the inflammatory response when it is no longer needed. (1) Too much of one over the other, and conditions may start up that are unhealthy: cancer (2,3,4), cardiovascular disease (5,6), skin problems, etc. The bad fats that make us fat come from eating too many calories, saturated fats, trans fatty acids, simple sugars, salt and not enough fiber. (5) A re-balancing of the fats and dietary intake may help us reduce our weight and improve our health in many areas.
Chiropractic Care Sees the Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids
Research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of or treat chronic diseases like heart disease (6), osteoporosis (7), dry eye (8), skin conditions (9), arthritis, depression (10,11), and even cancer (9). Essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 are important to normal functioning of body tissues from the brain (6,12,13) to the spinal nerves that send messages throughout the body to tissues and organs like liver, blood, skin, heart, joints (14), brain and eye, helping brain function, cognition, and even attention (6,12) and mood. Eating fish may even protect against bone loss in osteoporosis. (15)
The Chicago Diet
The so-called standard American diet is unbalanced in the essential fatty acid area. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid intake should be somewhere in the 1:1 to 4:1 ratio, with more Omega-3 than Omega-6. Processed foods and oils have tipped the scales in favor of Omega-6. How can it be re-balanced? By careful attention to diet with intake of essential fatty acids via supplementation and better diet choices.
You and the Fats
As your chiropractic resource in Chicago, Chiropractic Care looks at you as a whole person and will perform a complete examination to ascertain a personalized treatment plan for relief of your back pain or neck pain or general aches and pains. If you will allow, a nutrition discussion can ensue as to the role of essential fatty acids in your health and recovery. Some considerations of essential fatty acids' role in your treatment plan may be to include more Omega-3 food sources like oily fish - salmon, mackeral, anchovie - along with walnuts, flaxseed (oil, seeds, meal), borage and linseed oils. Just a little introduction of these to your current diet may prove beneficial.
Contact Chiropractic Care to discuss how essential fatty acids may help you nutritionally and keep you on track to a healthier, painfree life you can enjoy in Chicago.
Click here for the REFERENCES for FEATURE NUTRITION: Are you fat enough?