Also known as essential fatty acids (EFA), vitamin F is composed of two fatty acids essential to many of our biological processes. These are linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) – both are important in the repair and development of tissues in our body. They also help with metabolism, wound healing, skin and hair growth, and reproductive health. A deficiency in these fatty acids can lead to easy skin bruising, dry eyes, vision problem, delayed healing process, and unhealthy hair and skin.
What are the best natural sources of vitamin F?
Our body is not capable of manufacturing essential fatty acids, so they have to be consumed from foods. The following are some of the best natural sources of vitamin F.
Oils are good sources of vitamin F. The oil extracted from flaxseed, for instance, contains 7.3 grams of ALA per tablespoon. Safflower also provides 10.1 grams of LA per tablespoon. Other good sources of these essential fatty acids are soybean, safflower, corn, walnut and canola oils.
Nuts and Seeds
If you like nuts and seeds, you might as well munch on sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pecans, brazil nuts and English walnuts. These contain a high amount of alpha-linoleic acids. Oil-roasted sunflower seeds, in particular, provide 9.7 grams per ounce, while English walnuts contain 2.6 grams of vitamin F per ounce.
Certain fishes also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Among which are anchovies, halibut, lake trout, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna and halibut. According to the American Heart Association, a person should eat two servings of these fatty fish per week to meet his or her vitamin F requirements.
Breast Milk and Infant Formula
Baby’s milk, either breast or formula milk, contains a generous amount of both LA and ALA. They provide the main source of energy in an infant’s diet. Mother’s milk contains 55% healthy fat, while formula milk contains 49% fat.
Some vegetables also contain vitamin F. Soybean products, in particular, such as soymilk, tofu and soy-based meat alternative provide a good amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Not all fats are bad. You need good fats, like essential fatty acids, to stay healthy inside and outside.