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It's Oil Good

A Feel 21, Inc. Health Report

It's very simple America: We Need Fats.

Before you start gearing up for a trip to every fast-food restaurant in a five-mile radius, let us explain. Your body's balance of essential fatty acids (EFAs) - primarily omega-3s and omega-6s - is very important. The benefits of omega-3s extend throughout the body from the cardiovascular system to the brain.

Unfortunately, for most Americans, the benefits of omega-3s are negated due to the over-abundance of omega-6s in the diet. The richest sources of omega-6s are found in corn, safflower, and soy oils, all of which are found in a plethora of snakc foods, including chips, cookies, and ready-made baked goods.

The sources for omega-3s are in foods without a cream-filled center, such as salmon, hempseed, and dark, leafy greens. Considering the typical American's diet and the sky-high obesity rates, the average ratio of omega-6s to omega-3 of 20:1 (instead of the ideal 1:1) should come as no big surprise.

Test Your Knowledge on Nutritional Oils

  1. Olive oil has a terrific nutritional profile, but why should it be used in small amounts?
    a. High doses can cause liver damage.
    b. Digestive problems typically occur after two teaspoons.
    c. One tablespoon is 120 calories.
    d. None of the above.
  2. What destroys most EFAs?
    a. Not consuming them within 24 hours
    b. Heat
    c. Cold
    d. None of the above
  3. When purchasing nutritional oils, what is important about the bottling?
    a. It should be dark.
    b. It should be light.
    c. It should be in the skinniest bottle possible.
    d. The bottling is irrelevant.
  4. Our brains are made of 50 to 60 percent fat and have high levels of omega-3s, which explains why this nutrient enhances brain function.
    a. True
    b. False
  5. Buying a nutritional oil should not be based on price alone. What else should you look for in the product?
    a. An expiration date
    b. If the oil comes from a certified organic source
    c. That it comes in a dark-colored bottle
    d. None of the above
    e. All of the above

Answers can be found at the end of this article.

Why is the ratio so important? "The bottom line: Without balanced intake of omega-3s and omega-6s, our health suffers," wrote Marie Moneysmith in Basic Health Publications User's Guide to Good Fats and Bad Fats. "We get fewer of the omega-3 benefits to our cardiovascular and nervous systems, and good HDL cholesterol levels may drop, a side efect of too many omega-6s."

There are ways to get the right ratio fo essential fatty acids. ONe way is through nutritional oils, which can provide necessary EFAs as well as the health benefits that can't be found in, let's say, a Happy Meal.

In their seminal reference book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Dr. James Balch and the late Phyllis Balck, C.N.C., outlined several such oils.

Emu Oil - An excellent source of linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and oleic acids, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used topically for a number of problems, including skin bites and poison ivy.

Fish Oil - This is a good source of omega-3s, with salmon, makcere, menhanden, herring, and sardines favored because they have a higher fat content.

Flaxseed Oil - Rich in essential fatty acids, several studies have shown it can reducce pain, inflammation, and arthritis. Dr. Balch and Ms. Balch also wrote that it has helped lower blood cholesterol and helped reduce the hardening effects of cholesterol on cell membranes.

Flaxseed also has tremendous benefits and is a terrific addition to shakes, salads, and yogurt.

Grape Seed Oil - Like flaxseed, it's ideal for cooking. It can be heated at temperatures up to 485 degrees F and has a "light, nutty taste that brings out the flavors in many foods," Dr. Balch and Ms. Balch wrote. Also, it has no cholesterol, no sodium, and it has among the lowest amount of saturated fats among the EFAs.

Primrose Oil - It contains 9 to 10 percent gamma linolenic acid, a beneficial omega-6. It's been known to "help prevent hardening of the arteries, heart disease, premenstrual syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and high blood pressure."

Also, "it relieves pain and relieves inflammation; enhances estrogen and testosterone; aids in lowering cholesterol levels; and is beneficial for cirrhosis of the liver," according to Dr. Balch and Ms. Balch.


References:

Basic Health Publications User's Guide to Good Fats and Bad Fats: Learn the Difference Between Fats that Make you Well and Fats that Make You Sick. By Moneysmith, Marie (Jack Challem, series editor). Basic Health Publications, Inc. North Bergen, NJ. 2003.

The Prescriptio for Nutritional Healing (3rd edition). By Dr. James Balch and Phyllis Balch. Avery/Penguin. New York. 2000.


Answers: 1. c; 2. b; 3. a; 4. a; 5. e

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This article is reprinted with permission from Vitamin Retailer magazine and is provided for educational purposes only by your local retailer. No part of this article is intended as medical advice. Always consult your health care provider for any medical problems.

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