Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) are thus named because, like vitamins,
our body needs them but cannot make them. We must obtain them
from our diet.
There are two types of EFA's; omega-6 and omega-3. To be in
optimum health we need to be consuming the two in a ratio of
roughly 1.25:1, omega-6 to omega-3. Sadly, most of us are hovering
between 15:1 and 50:1. This has disastrous effects on our health.
Omega-3 EFA's from vegetable sources - plants and nuts - exist
in a form that is not usable by humans. These omega-3 precursors
must first be converted before they can be beneficial. Humans
are unable to perform this conversion. Vegetable sources of
omega-6 EFA’s - grains and nuts - however, are fully formed,
and do not need further conversion before our bodies can use
them. Humans obtain omega-3 fatty acids through eating the meat
of other animals, because unlike us, most other animals are
able to perform the conversion. In today’s meat industry, weight
is money and animals are fed an unnatural diet of grains, protein,
antibiotics, and hormones in order to reach maximum size in
minimum time. The omega-6 content of all of these grains results
in a grotesque 15:1 ratio which is then passed on to us, as consumers.
Through eating the meat of animals left to forage on their own
(for example, cows that eat their natural grass diet), and not
force-fed an unnatural diet, we can obtain the perfect ratio.
The emphasis being on “can”, because it is not just conventional
meat that is getting us. The source of our unbalanced EFA ratio
is two headed. The animals we eat have high omega-6 levels due
to the enormous amount of grain we feed them. We have high omega-6
levels because we eat their meat, and because of the enormous
amount of grain that we feed ourselves. You've heard the saying,
"You are what you eat"? Well...
Omega-6 EFA's are involved in the immune response. Omega-3's
are involved in the proper functioning of the heart and the
brain. High omega-6 levels lead to an overactive immune system.
This leads to trigger happy inflammatory responses which aggravate
autoimmune responses and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid
arthritis. High 6 has also been recently linked with heart disease.
Low 3 has been correlated with a bevy of mental inefficiencies
such as the inability to concentrate and focus, and memory
problems. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity have also been
linked to low omega-3 levels. Skin problems such as dry skin
and dandruff, as well as high cholesterol have been shown to
be greatly helped through an increase in dietary omega-3 and
a decrease in omega-6 intake.