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Eat the Right Fats

by Dr. Randy


Omega-3 fats are good; they help to prevent inflammation and maintain healthy cell membranes. An excess of omega-6 fats is bad, because they will displace omega-3 fats in the body, promoting pain, allergies, and inflammation. Avoid polyunsatured fats (vegetable oil, corn oil) and trans fats (partially hydrogenated fats, fried foods, and margarine). Manufacturers of packaged foods love partially hydrogenated fat because it keeps products fresh and oily tasting. You will find it in every package down the center aisles of the supermarket, in chips, crackers, and cookies. Trans fats will sit in cell membranes, creating a barrier that blocks the exchange of health promoting nutrients and chemicals necessary for efficient function of the cell. By contrast, omega-3 fats create a flexible and permeable cell membrane that allows nutrients to pass easily into the cell. Omega-3 fats may be the key to prevention of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis, and the best thing going for allergies and asthma.

The best sources of omega-3 fats are cod liver oil (1 Tbspn per 50 lbs of body weight), fish oil capsules (containing 2,000 mg of EPA for adults, or 250 mg of DHA for children over 7 years old), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) supplements derived from algae (Neuromins). Fish, chickens, and eggs are also sources of omega-3 fats because they eat plants that contain these fatty acids. Therefore, only cage free chickens that eat green plants or algae are reliable sources. Small fish (achovies, herring, and sardines) are another good source of omega-3 fats, but larger fish (tuna, shark, swordfish, mackerel, and salmon) may be contaminated with mercury and should be eaten only occasionally (and never by children).

The only oils suitable for use at home are olive oil for salads and marinades (monunsaturated fat) and coconut oil (for cooking). Olive oil will not cause any health problems, but it does not contain either of the two essential fatty acids LA or ALA. Coconut oil contains health-promoting lauric acid.

Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that is also absorbed into cell membranes where it will prevent rancidity of fats that reside in the cell. In addition, vitamin E has anti-inflammatory effects and increases resistance to infection. Use only natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol), not the synthetic form (dl-alpha-tocopherol). A mixed tocopherol form of vitamin E is best. The dose for adults is 400 IU, for children 2-6 years old 100 IU, and for 6-12 year olds 200 IU.

Sources of Fatty Acids

Omega-6 fat sources Omega-3 fat sources Omega-9 sources

Canola oil Flax seed Olives

Safflower oil Fish Avocados

Sunflower oil Algae

Corn oil Eggs (cage free)

Fatty Acids by Category

Omega-6 fatty acids Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-9

LA Linoleic acid ALA Alpha linolenic acid Oleic acid

GLA Gamma linolenic acid EPA Eicosapentaenoic acid

AA Arachidonic acid DHA Docosahexaenoic acid