What’s Your EFA IQ?

What’s Your EFA IQ?


Omega 3 oils are part of a large group of oils and fats called essential fatty acids (EFA).  They are necessary for human health as your body can’t make them, hence the ‘essential’ in the name.  You have to get them through food.  Most folks identify these as “fish oil” or “flax seeds/oil”.  But there is so much more to know which could relate to irritability, impulse control, moods, inflammation, heart disease, diabetes…right, just about anything that can go wrong with your body.  This will be a series of quick and fun quizzes to get you up to speed on information that could make or break your life.

See how you do on this multiple choice quiz:


1) ______ % of people in North America are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids

  a) 20%

  b) 45%

  c) 85%

  d) 99%


2) Major sources of omega 3 fatty acids are:

  a) cold water fatty fish, such as salmon, pacific herring and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants and nut oils.

  b) sunflower seeds, oranges and pineapples

  c) green peppers, spinach, tilapia and shrimp

  d) chicken, duck, liver pate and turkey


3) Our ancestors ate oils that came mostly from seeds like corn, sunflower, cottonseed, and safflower.

  __ True  __ False



1) ... d) 99%

Holy mackerel (by the way, they’re high in omega-3’s), the North American diet is a bit out of balance.  The conclusion to this statistic is EVERYONE needs to be supplementing their diet one way or another with omega-3 fatty acids.

2) ... a) Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon, pacific herring, halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants (flax), omega 3 fortified eggs, and nut oils.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish high in omega 3’s (see above and also:  mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.  Plants that are high in omega 3’s are flax seeds, dark leafy greens, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

3) ... False 

Your great, great, great grandparents used animal fats (lard) and fish oils for fat.  Seed oils didn’t exist.  The animals these came from were grass fed and the fish fed on seaweed.  Grass-fed animals and seaweed fed fish have 3 – 19 times the omega 3 fats within their meat/flesh than grain fed animals and fish.

IN SUMMARY, our current diet is radically different from what it was for hundreds of thousands of years.  Most populations evolved on the water’s edge, eating lots of marine animals whose fat was loaded with omega 3’s.  This is part of the reason our health is deteriorating at the current rate. Omega 3 oils require a certain balance in the body with the other ‘essential fatty acids’ called omega 6 oils.  Stay tuned for the next blog on how omega 3’s impact your genetics, cholesterol levels and arthritis.

Who knew?