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March 2016

Good fats = good skin. The power of GLA

Borago-officinalis-Borage-BluezLast week, we talked about the importance of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Now, let’s turn our attention toward Omega 6 fatty acids. Linoleic acid is the primary Omega 6, and while the average American diet gets plenty of Omega 6s—through poultry and eggs, for instance—we don’t always get enough of the extra-awesome Omega 6 called gamma linolenic acid (GLA). In addition to having the power to fight everything from asthma to rheumatoid arthritis, it also helps reduce inflammation and combat eczema and dermatitis.

The best sources of GLA include:

  • Borage oil: Borage Oil supplements are the best way to up your GLA intake. The seeds of the borage plant (pictured) is the richest source of this powerful acid.
  • Hemp oil: Of all the vegetable oils available, hemp oil contains the highest amount of GLA. While it shouldn’t be used for cooking (it has a high amount of unsaturated fats), add it to a salad or drizzle it over grains or veggies to punch up the flavor.
  • Spirulina: Mix spirulina powder into smoothies, sprinkle it on a salad, or use it to zest up your grains.

Other Omega 6-rich foods to incorporate into your diet:

  • Avocado: Avocado is not only great for your body, it’s great for your palate. This rich vegetable can be sliced into salads, mashed into a fresh guacamole, or even folded into an omelet.
  • Seeds & nuts: Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of a stirfry or salad to add some Omega 6-packed crunch. Other nuts and seeds rich in Omega 6s include pine nuts, pistachios, raw sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds.
  • Vegetable oils: These oils, including corn, safflower, sunflower, and grapeseed, are rich in linoleic acid but read labels carefully as many oils are refined and lose nutrients in the process.
  • Grass-fed butter: Grass-fed cows produce milk fat with a 1:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 1, making it a great balanced choice for butter-lovers.

While consuming too much Omega 6 fatty acids can prove unhealthy, make strategic choices so you are reaching for the healthiest sources of GLA. Your clear, even complexion will thank you.

(photo: loghouseplants.com)


Improve Your Skin Through the Power of Omega 3s

Salmon walnutOmega 3 fatty acids—ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)—are often touted for their many benefits, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing inflammation, preventing depression, and improving skin health. They are great for the skin because they protect it from the sun, reduce inflammation and the appearance of fine lines, and keep your skin hydrated.

Here are just a few of our favorite food sources of this essential fatty acid:

  • Salmon: Oily, fatty fish are one of the best sources of Omega 3s, and salmon’s at the top of the list, preferably wild Alaskan salmon. Add this—or Artic char, mackerel, sardines, halibut, oysters—into frequent meal rotation.
  • Cod liver oil: Your mom was onto something when she forced you to swallow a spoonful of this potent oil. Taken as an oil or in a capsule, cod liver oil also contains skin-saving vitamins A & D.
  • Flax seed: A rockstar when it comes to the Omega 3 fatty acid ALA, flaxseed is six times richer in Omega 3 fatty acids than most fish oils! Add flaxseed oil to your smoothies or salad dressing, and try sprinkling flaxseeds on your yogurt or oatmeal.
  • Walnuts: After flaxseed and chia seeds, walnuts are the best nut in terms of essential fatty acids, which translate into hydrated skin and shiny hair.
  • Spinach: Whether fresh, frozen or canned, spinach is a powerhouse when it comes to Omega 3s. Arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, pinto beans and kidney beans are also great vegetarian sources of Omega 3s.

Suddenly, we’re craving salmon with a spinach salad studded with walnuts and dressed with flaxseed oil… We digress. The point is, there are loads of foods with high levels of Omega 3s. Seek out your favorites and incorporate them into your diet for glowing, hydrated skin.

(photo: walnuts.org)