Fats That Are Good for a Mother

By: Rick Hanson, Ph.D. and Jan Hanson, L.Ac.

I always thought fat was bad, but now I'm reading about "good fats." What should I do?

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are in the news because they are needed for a healthy heart and brain, plus they are absolutely crucial for the healthy development of a fetus or child. Unfortunately, they are usually deficient in mothers since they are drawn on heavily to grow a baby during pregnancy and breast milk is loaded with them, and most women don't have anywhere near enough to start with.

Increasing your intake of one type of EFAs—omega-3 oils found in fish and flax—can help prevent cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and depression. It can also make your hair and skin more moist; dryness, including dandruff, is a potential sign of omega-3 deficiency. And pregnant or breastfeeding women can help the optimal development of their child's brain by getting optimal amounts of these important oils.

Here's how to get the good fats you need:

With these small steps, you'll be supporting your health and well-being every day!

Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, Jan Hanson, M.S., L.Ac., is an acupuncturist/nutritionist, and they are raising a daughter and son, ages 15 and 18. With Ricki Pollycove, M.D., they are the first and second authors of Mother Nurture: A Mother's Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships, published by Penguin. You can see their website at nurturemom.com or email them with questions or comments at info@nurturemom.com; unfortunately, a personal reply may not always be possible.

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