Most of us know that the essential fatty acids are good for us. They come top of the must-have list for many health savvy people because of the impressive range of body and brain benefits. Indeed, they are not an optional extra in your diet. They are called the essential fatty acids because they are just that, essential.
Here’s my checklist of the top 7 fat function facts
- Healthy nerve and brain function
- Carry and store essential fat-soluble vitamins
- Help you feel full
- May even lower leptin levels, the so-called hunger hormone.
- Assist joints and can lower inflammation
- Help with skin lustre
- Aid digestion
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. Do you manage that?
Rather than struggle, 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 can’t tell you the number of clients I’ve persuaded to take their beloved blender into the office. I’m also please to say it has convinced many a manager to buy one for the team, bonus! Why? Well, if you refrigerate some smoothie essentials you can whizz up a perfect mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick me up 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 beforehand and take to work or simply enjoy at home.
My smoothie shopping list is
- Bag of baby spinach or other green leafy veg - use a generous handful of these highly nutritious vegetables each time
- Bananas - not to be feared. Low GI and high in prebiotic 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 - 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 lustrous.
- Add a drizzle of something sweet if you need it. Honey, agave, maple syrup - just a little, not a lot.
- Cinnamon has thermogenic properties that can temporarily raise your metabolic rate so add a dash of that too! However, bear in mind it is the spice cinnamon that can assist fat burning rather than foods containing the spice such as cinnamon buns! However, now that we are well into Autumn, not everyone feels the call of the chilled smoothie. 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 - great for helping to avoid the winter weight gain many of us fall prey to.
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, although research is not conclusive.
Finally, let me answer the common question about why Udo's’ Choice is in a dark bottle. This is for function rather than design since exposure to light causes it to lose some of its fatty acids. You can protect it even further by ensuring you refrigerate once opened and avoiding using it for cooking as any of the essential oils suffer when heated.
In other words, drizzle, don’t sizzle!