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Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)
The Most Overlooked Nutritional Deficiency in Today’s Children
The #1 nutritional deficiency in children today is Essential Fatty Acids. EFAs boost metabolism, energy levels, improve digestion, build the immune system and promote cellular healing. It is most important that you and your child consume EFAs, as our bodies cannot manufacture them. We need to obtain them from breast milk, foods or supplements.
From the time your baby is conceived until the age of two, the brain and nervous system are forming new tissue and creating neural pathways, which pave the way for learning. Children are particularly dependent on EFAs for brain development; without them their brains cannot grow to their full potential; EFAs are literally that important.
Cells and organs will degenerate if EFAs are not consumed. EFAs also inhibit inflammation, which is what occurs when common allergens are consumed and each time we react adversely to food. In addition, Essential Fatty Acids help heal the intestinal wall, lubricate the intestine and soften stools.
Just giving your child EFAs, alone, can reverse his or her reactions to food. When my daughter Paige decided one day to eat a capful of strawberry flavoured EFAs, she had her largest formed bowel movement ever! Prior to that, she missed bowel movements after eating certain foods. Suffice it to say, we upped the EFAs after that!
“Every child will benefit from EFAs, now dangerously deficient in our diets. EFAs are converted into substances that keep our blood thin, lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation, improve the function of our nervous and immune systems, help insulin to work, encourage healthy metabolism, maintain the balance of water in our bodies and affect our vision, co-ordination and mood. There is also exciting new research showing that it can have a positive effect on children’s behaviour and ability to learn.” Allergy-free Cooking for Kids – A Guide to Childhood Food Intolerance with 80 Recipes By Antoinette Savill and Karen Sullivan.
Well Being Journal wrote about Alex Richardson, a psychologist at Oxford University, who conducted a study at 12 primary schools. He researched 117 children, ages 5 to 12, with average academic ability but who were underachieving at school. The children that were given Omega 3 for 3 months did substantially better at school than those in the control group. In spelling, these children performed twice as well as expected, whereas the control group continued to fall behind.
Symptoms of EFA deficiency
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Bad temperament
- Bleeding gums
- Bumpy skin on face or back of arms
- Cold hands and feet
- Dry, rough, cracked, or peeling skin
- Dry, brittle or oily hair
- Dry eyes
- Excess earwax
- Excessive thirst
- Food or environmental sensitivities
- Frequent urination
- Hair thinning
- Lowered resistance to infection
- Lack luster hair
- Sinus problems
- Sleeping problems
- Poor concentration
- Weak, brittle or split nails
It is important to note that high sugar (refined) and saturated fat intake, drugs/antibiotics and second-hand smoke interfere with EFA metabolism.
Food sources of EFA
There are three EFAs that are essential to health, Omega 6s, Omega 3s and Omega 9s. They are found in flaxseed, hemp seed (I don’t believe it is available in the United States), other raw, unsalted nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame), cold-water fatty fish (salmon, sardines, cod, trout, and mackerel), fish oils, seal oil (Auum being the best I know of), avocado, beans, green leafy vegetables and organic eggs.
Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory and it is the oil we don’t get enough of in our diets. Flax is 60% omega 3 and 40% omega 6. Fish oils are entirely made up of Omega 3 so you can imagine how good they are at reducing the inflammation caused by food! Fish oils are the optimal choice for ensuring your child is receiving the necessary essential fatty acids. They come in flavours such as strawberry, orange, lemon and others.
Daily required amount of EFAs
One tablespoon of EFAs is required each day.
It is truly essential that your child receive enough Essential Fatty Acids. Now my blog has explained the two most important supplements that every human being requires – probiotics, which I discussed in my last blog post and essential fatty acids.
How about you? Are you getting enough essential fatty acids in your diet? I love receiving feedback. Here on this blog, you’ll get commentluv. This is a plug-in that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment.
Until next time,