With summer around the corner, you might be starting to think about your body condition. If you are working towards improving your muscle tone and working on building a body you are proud of; then you should spend a little bit of time considering the essential fatty acids in your diet. The question is, are you getting enough to help you get the best results?
What Are Essential Fatty Acids?
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are chemicals that your body needs but can’t produce its self. In other words, they are fats you need to eat in your diet. These nutrients are vital for a healthy body and are involved in a wide range of processes in the body, so it’s essential to make sure you get them in your diet.
What Have Fatty Acids Got To Do With Fitness and Muscles?
Usually, when you think about getting in shape for the summer, you might think about cutting out all fats from your diet for a while. But, if you are hitting the gym with the hopes of building muscle or improving muscle tone, then you want to have proper levels of EFAs in your diet. Here’s why.
More Resilient Joints
Working out can put a lot of stress on your joints. It can be frustrating to have to stop or slow a workout because of aches in your joints. That’s why looking after them is so important. EFAs are vital in protecting your joints. They can reduce inflammation following a workout, and help to protect the cartilage inside your joints.
With more robust, healthier joints, you can safely push up your weights or your reps to maximise your workout gains.
Reduced Muscle Pain
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), can be awful. If you push yourself in the gym, you can be paying for it for days later. This can slow your progress as well as being unpleasant. The good news is that EFAs can reduce the effects of DOMS. Which means you can get back to the gym sooner, and make progress faster.
More Efficient Cardio
EFAs are great for your heart health. They can help your heart and lungs work more efficiently while you work out. The result is that your heart rate will be lower when you work out. This is ideal if you are aiming to burn excess fat and build muscles. Working at peak heart rates is not as efficient for this type of work. So having EFAs in your diet can help you to work out longer and get more of the benefits you are looking for.
When you work hard, you need to have good energy supplies. That’s what lets you keep going. EFAs can boost your overall energy levels, and provide your muscles with the energy they need to keep working for longer.
Does The Type Of Fatty Acid Matter?
There are two families of essential fatty acid. Within the families, there is one primary fatty acid from which your body can make all the other fatty acids your body needs. So if you just eat these two main EFAs, then you will have all the fatty acids your body needs.
The first of the two essential fatty acids is Omega 3, also known as alpha-linoleic acid, or ALA. The other essential fatty acid is Omega 6, also known as Linoleic acid or LA.
You need both of these in your diet. What is important is how much of each you get. Western diets typically contain large amounts of Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3. For optimal results, you should have around twice as much omega 3 as omega 6. So if you want to get the best results possible, you need to pay attention to the types of fatty acid you are getting.
How Do You Get Them Into Your Diet?
When it comes to getting EFAs into your diet, you have a few good food choices. Some of the best are
- Fish and seafood
- Nuts and Seeds
- Flaxseed oil, canola oil
- Fortified foods like cereal.
If you want to be confident that you are getting enough of EFAs your body needs, and that they are in the right balance, then you might want to consider a supplement. Udo’s Oil is a great option. It contains omegas 3 and 6 in the optimal ratio. It’s also effortless to add to your diet. You can add it to any food or drink, just so long as you don’t cook it. It goes well as part of salad dressing or as an extra ingredient in a smoothie.