Most of us know that the essential fatty acids are good for us. Because of the impressive range of body and brain benefits they became top of the must have list for many health and fitness oriented people. Indeed, they are not an optional extra in your diet. They are called the essential fatty acids because they are just that, essential.
Here is my top seven fat function facts:
Healthy nerve and brain function
Carry and store essential fat-soluble vitamins
Help you feel full
May lower leptin (hunger hormone) levels
Assist joints and can lower inflammation
Help with skin lustre
The challenge is often less about knowing about the benefits and more about making sure we get enough into our diet. It is made more complicated by the need to balance the ratio of the different types of essential fats. In the typical Western diet we consume significantly more omega-6 fat than omega-3 fat, when our diets should provide equal amounts of each. For example, not many of us have the time or inclination first thing in the morning to consume some of the richest sources of omega 3 beneficial fats from oily fish. Smoked salmon, kippers or mackerel may be on the menu for Sunday brunch, but they are not an everyday occurrence. This leaves the minimum quota of two to three portions per week for lunch and dinner.
Why not make it easier to get the fats you need and in the right ratio for optimum health? Here are my simple tried and tested ideas. I’ve persuaded many of my clients to take their blender into the office. I’m also please to say it has convinced many a manager to buy one for the team! If you refrigerate some smoothie essentials you can create a perfect mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack in a matter of minutes. It is a budget friendly way to snack too. Of course, if your workplace isn’t suitable you can plan ahead and make your smoothie at home and take to work or simply enjoy at home.
My smoothie shopping list is including:
Bag of baby spinach or other green leafy vegetable – use a generous handful of these highly nutritious vegetables each time
Bananas – low GI and high in probiotic fibres that are great for your gut. Use around half a banana per smoothie
Unsweetened almond milk – most adults don’t drink cow’s milk in quantity, rather, focus on a non-dairy but protein rich liquid base that doesn’t contain hidden sugars
Udo’s Oil Blend- a tablespoon of plant-based Udo’s Oil takes care of your daily quota of essential fats in the correct ratio. And it helps smoothies taste more creamy and delicious
Add a drizzle of something sweet if you need it. Honey, agave or maple syrup – just a little
Cinnamon has thermogenic effect that can temporarily raise your metabolic rate so add a dash of that too. However, remember that it is the spice cinnamon that can assist fat burning rather than foods containing the spice such as cinnamon buns. But bear in mind that not everyone needs the chilled smoothie in autumn. In colder weather keep on top of your daily essential fats by drizzling a little oil over a hearty, protein rich warm meal.
Ingredients such as fish, chicken or eggs, and to a lesser extent pulses such as lentils or beans, are proteins that keep you fuller for longer so it is likely you’ll eat less overall. This is because it takes more energy for your body to digest the protein in meat, in effect, your body has to work harder so you’ll burn more calories in the process. They are also a good source of vitamin B 12 which can help keep energy levels intact. The amino acids in eggs are also thought to play a helpful role in fat burning too. Keep it simple and enjoy the benefits of these healthy fats.
Martin Petro WNBF Pro