Good Sources of Essential Fatty Acids: There are many good sources of EFAs, but learn what is suitable for you, and safe consumption of healing fats.
Black Currant Seed Oil
Obviously, black currant seed oil is derived from … black currant seeds. They contain unusually high omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Its gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) content is almost twice as much as that of evening primrose oil (EPO).
Black currant seed oil is an excellent source of an omega-3 precursor known as stearidonic acid. It also contains other fatty acids in smaller amounts.
Because of its balanced ratio of both families of essential fatty acids, this oil is almost a wonder oil, effective for treating anti-inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, boosts immune system, helps regulate female menstruation cycles, alleviate symptoms of menopause, help skin disorders and many more conditions.
Borage Seed Oil
Borage seed oil derives from a “blue-star” flower called borago officinalis. It is cultivated for its very high content of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
Besides its omega-6 fatty acids content, it is also rich in other fatty acids like palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, eicosenoic acid and others.
Like evening primrose oil (EPO), borage seed oil is commonly recommended for alleviating female hormonal problems like irregular menstruation and PMS symptoms.
It could also possibly help with heart and joint function, inflammation, growth of nails and hair, auto-immune disorder, arthritis and eczema. Children who are hyperactive and have allergies may also benefit from taking omega-6 fatty acids.
Fish Oil Extracts
Fish oils derive from the tissues of oily fishes like fresh salmon, herring, tuna and mackerel. These fishes don’t produce the oils themselves but accumulate them from consuming microalgae that produce these oils.
Fish oil extracts are often sold in capsules because they are unpalatable in liquid form. Note, however, capsules are not suitable for young children’s consumption.
Salmon Oil: This oil is high in omega-3 EFAs and also eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are important oils for brain development. Infants born to women who have high levels of this type of oil have been found to be in advantage in terms of early development and advanced attention span.
This type of oil can help thin the blood, prevent blood clotting, regulate cholesterol production and strengthen cell walls, heightening protection against viral and bacterial invasion. They are also beneficial in relieving inflammatory problems like rheumatoid arthritis, osteo-arthritis and gout.
Cod-Liver Oil: This oil is a fine source of omega-3 EFAs, vitamins A and D. However, large amounts can be toxic so take no more than prescribed on the labels. The taste of cod-liver oil may be unpalatable, but never use defatted cod-liver oil. Defatted also mean that its nutritive values have been removed.
Evening Primrose Oil (EPO)
Evening primrose is the most reliable source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and usually comes in 500 mg capsules. EPO is widely recommended for women with irregular menstruation cycles, PMS problems or to prevent menopause hot flashes and mood swings.
But EPO is more than that. It has also been found to help with the production of energy and is a structural component of the brain, bone marrow, muscles and cell membranes. EPO can also benefit people with multiple sclerosis, hyperactivity and obesity.
This is my favorite oil, also called linseed oil. Flaxseed oil is the very best source of omega-3 fatty acids, with smaller amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil must be extracted in a dark room with low oxygen and bottled in black bottles to keep the light out.
This oil must always be kept in the refrigerator. It starts to spoil when exposed to oxygen and light so cannot be kept longer than six weeks once the bottle is open. It can be kept up to six months in the freezer but it will remain in its liquid form, never frozen. Flaxseed oil has a nice nutty taste and must not taste bitter. If it is bitter, it has turned rancid.
1-3 tablespoon of flaxseed oil may be taken daily to help maintain and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce blood clots, eliminate diabetes complications, stop inflammation, relieve asthma, normalize hormones, improve brain function and memory and many more benefits.
Most importantly, flaxseed oil has been proven to be the only oil that cancer patients can take without any problems. It can kill cancerous cells and reduce the growth of tumors.
These oils mentioned above are for direct oral consumption. They are very sensitive and must never be exposed to heat. Heat and oxygen will cause the oils to turn rancid and become toxic. Never use them for cooking!
Safe oils to use for cooking are olive oil for light cooking and grapeseed oil for high heat cooking. These oils are not mentioned above as they do not fall under the essential fatty acids category.
The EFAs contain anti-oxidants that are natural preservatives and can be kept for long periods of time, even longer in freezer (but mind the expiration date). Once the bottle is open and exposed to oxygen, it will start to deteriorate and have to be used up within weeks.
The above sources of EFAs are expensive for a reason¾the extraction methods can be rather tedious. Some brands may offer them cheaply on the market. Do not fall for them as they could, in fact, be just soy oil. Shop smart, go for the known brands to ensure quality.