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The ABCs of EFAs

We all know getting our omega-3 each day is important—but what makes it essential and what role does omega-6 also play? Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are healthy fats that our bodies cannot make, so must get it from our food. Every cell, tissue, gland and organ is dependent upon them. Omega-3 is known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and omega-6 as linoleic acid (LA). These are the “parent” fatty acids. Their “children”—the long chain fatty acids made by metabolizing ALA and LA in the body – include EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid).

Essential fatty acids:

  • Play important roles in brain, immune, skin, and cardiovascular health
  • Are pre-cursors to making signaling molecules like eicosanoids and endocannabinoids, which play important roles in mood, balancing inflammation, and cellular functioning
  • Are needed for proper cell membrane function (membrane fluidity)
  • Bind to receptors in cells and regulate genetic functioning
  • Support healthy functioning of blood vessels and the heart
  • Can also be used for energy by the body
Since our bodies do not make these omegas, the only way to get them is through our diet, and it is also important to get them in the right ratios. Omega-6 is fairly common in our diet but omega-3 is harder to find and omega-6 often comes from fried, baked and processed foods. One oil blend that is getting a lot of recognition is Udo’s Oil™. It is a balanced blend of omega-3, 6, and 9, healthy fats with twice as much omega-3 as omega-6. Carefully cold-pressed in small batches, Udo’s Oil™ is made by Flora Manufacturing and Distributing, a local company in Burnaby B.C. The oil blend is made from carefully sourced organic ingredients, such as flaxseed (all of the flax seeds are from certified organic Canadian grown flax), sunflower seed, sesame seed, coconut oil and evening primrose seed oil. The oil is not only organic but also non-GMO, vegan and raw—that’s right, raw! Meaning the oil does not get pressed over a temperature of 55° C. It’s bottled in amber glass bottles to protect it from light and nitrogen flushed to remove all oxygen (light and oxygen, along with heat, can damage omega-3 fatty acids in particular). Udo’s Oil™ is a simplified approach to getting all of your healthy omegas in one bottle. You no longer have to take your omegas 3, 6 and 9 separately as it is now available in a balanced ratio in one convenient bottle. Because Udo’s Oil™ has such delicate ingredients, i.e. flax, it requires refrigeration to protect the health properties of the ingredients and can be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores and select grocery. Simply blend Udo’s Oil™ into your salads, protein shakes, hummus, pasta, veggies—and you’re not only enjoying a buttery delight—you’re also taking care of some essential business. Udo’s Oil™ is also available on the shelf in vegan soft gel capsule form (NPN 80016142). They are an excellent source of plant based omega-3 and omega-6 to support your overall health.

Kale Slaw with Fresh Turmeric

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (about 15 stalks), washed and dried
  • 4 oz enoki mushrooms, root ends cut off and stalks separated
  • 2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and cut diagonally into strips
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • ½ red onion, cut into slivers
  • ½ cup basil leaves, packed
  • ¼ cup unseasoned brown
  • Rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup Udo’s Oil™
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp sriracha sauce
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 4 turmeric roots, peeled
Grasping the leaf portion of the kale, pull away and discard the stems. Stack the leaves and slice crosswise into very thin strips. Place in a large bowl along with the mushrooms, celery, carrot, red pepper and onion. Place the basil, vinegar, Udo’s Oil™, garlic, sriracha and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Pour over the vegetables in the bowl and mix thoroughly. Divide among 4 plates. Grate 1 turmeric root over each salad and serve at once.