Yesterday I wrote about the benifits of flax seed. (I misspelled that word on purpose—long story.) Possibly the very best way to get Essential Fatty Acids is in the form of flax and/or its oil. However, two cautions are in order. First, smell the seeds when you purchase them (and look at the expiration date to make sure that they are fresh). You can usually tell if they smell rancid. Grind them in your BlendTec right before using them, as they oxidize quickly and have a shelf life of only a few months. Second, whole flax seeds pass through the intestine doing little other than absorbing liquid, if they aren’t broken down. So chew flax very well if you eat it whole, or grind it instead.
You can get your EFAs easily from high-quality flax oil, which must be purchased refrigerated in dark bottles at health food stores. Barlean’s and Udo’s are excellent brands that use organic flax and refrigerate it from production to point of sale. One tablespoon of flax oil daily provides an adequate quantity of EFAs with the ideal Omega 3:6 ratio. Including the whole seed in your diet, as well, will be less expensive and will add dietary fiber. We will focus on flax seeds again in Ch. 7 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
In addition to flax, foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids also include walnuts, pumpkin or sesame seeds, avocados, and leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collards. Eating these foods may be even better than eating the oil, because their nutrition will be utilized by the body throughout the day. I also like hempseed protein powder, which I add to virtually any breakfast (12 Steps to Whole Foods, Ch. 10, or the new recipe collection in my store). Uses for pumpkin and sesame seeds are found in several chapters of 12 Steps and several of the recipe collections.