When it comes to omegas, you're downright confused.
What are they? Why are they so important? How much do I really need? Critics of plant-based diets like to drone on about how you can't get all your essential fatty acids from plants. But good news - they're wrong.
After all, where do other animals get their essential fatty acids? They eat plants. Let's take a look at key omegas, find out where to get them and learn how much we really need.
Yay for ALA
ALA is a key omega-3 fatty acid, and it transforms to other essential fatty acids (DHA, EPA) once consumed. ALA provides anti-inflammatory aid, helping the body to internally negate the impact of stressors. The question of how much ALA will convert to the EFAs - DHA and EPA - has long been debated. Recent research shows that a lot of the conversion depends on need - a preggo woman or or a gal of child-bearing age will convert differently than a dude or menopausal woman. How do you get your ALA? Daily doses of flax and chia will do you right.
Good ol' GLA
Until recently, GLA was a not-so-well-known fatty acid. GLA provides core nutrition for hormonal balance (bye-bye PMS crazies!), as well as moisture for healthy hair, skin and nails. Historically, integrative physicians recommended borage or evening primrose oil supplements and reinforced recommendations to eat wild salmon to get this vital nutrient into the diet. However, with the increasing availability of hemp hearts (and oil), plant-lovers can get this essential fatty acid without eating any of our ocean friends.
Related: Hemp is the New Flax
High on Hemp
Since hemp provides complete protein, it's really a win-win. If you want to replace supplements of borage, evening primrose or black currant seed, a serving of hemp hearts (or oil) daily will do the trick. For anyone else, consume hemp as regular part of your plant-based diet for the essential fatty acid benefits as well as to get adequate protein and other key nutrients.
So the next time someone eyeballs your plate suspiciously or suggests a fish oil pill, you can whip out your hemp oil, guzzle some down and smile smugly.
Your plate of plants is giving you everything you need.
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