I’m not a lover of the word fat, as I know the negative images that spring to mind when we say that word. I am experienced enough, with being a woman and having a busy weight loss practice, that the word makes us critically look at our own body mass and condemn ourselves to a life of torture!
However, this week’s blog is focused on essential fatty acids omega-3 and -6 (the good fats) and how they are key to good health. So what are EFA’s and why are they so important?
EFA’s are fats we must get from our diets, as our bodies cant make them. Studies over the past decades hail essential fats as having amazing health benefits, from preventing cancer, to improving concentration & behaviour.
Here are a few of the known benefits to Essential Fatty Acids:
- Better Body Composition
- More Muscle
- Easier Fat Loss
- Better Reproductive Health
- Better Brain Function & Mood
- Stronger Bones
- Reduce Cancer Risk
- Stronger Immune System
- Better Skin & Eye Health
So why do I see strong, independent women struggle with this concept?
Throughout the last 30 years, low fat, calorie restrictive diets have been the go to dietary model for those looking for better health, energy and body composition. We only have to look at the diets that our grandmothers, mothers and even this generation embark on to try and find utopia when it comes to health. The dietary models such as Lighter Life, Slimming World, Weight Watchers and Rosemary Connelly all promote the same (albeit slightly varied), that cutting calories and eating low fat food sources will promote weight loss and good health. Right? Couldn’t be further from the truth if you tried!
I see time and time again ladies who have previously tried every single one of these diets and struggled with weight loss, energy levels, mood disturbances, increased PMS symptoms, brain fog, skin and hair issues to name a few. Last week I had one of my clients discuss when doing Slimming World or Weight Watchers, they would not eat or drink the evening before weigh in and the morning also, to try and ensure that they saw a change in the numbers on the scale. Another client advised that they would cheat the programme and eat only ‘point free’ foods to ensure that weight loss for the week was gained. The result being that they felt stressed, tired and fed up of a diet which felt unobtainable and restrictive. What happened at the end of this exhaustive battle? Well the weight piled back on with another ‘failed’ attempt under the belt playing a negative game with their psyche.
When working with clients, we talk about the importance of essential fats, for weight loss yes, but more importantly for brain and nervous system support. A diet devoid of essential fats creates deficiency and therefore those cravings you get for fat and sugar are your body’s way of signaling you to hunt out fat. Clever eh! .
Where can we get Essential Fatty Acids into our diet:
Omega -3 forms the key building blocks of the brain and eyes. This fat helps communication between your body cells, affecting mood, concentration, learning and memory. It also plays a role in digestion and fertility as well as fighting inflammation & infection.
Omega -3 is found in flaxseed, chia seeds, green leafy veggies, and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, fresh tuna and trout.
Increasing to 2 portions of oily fish per week and sprinkling flaxseed in yoghurts or breakfast cereals will get you on the right path to good health.
Omega -6 plays a crucial role in brain function, growth & development, metabolism and maintaining the reproductive system. Omega 6 is found in nuts and seeds, avocado, corn, safflower and sunflower oil & meat and dairy products.
Having 30 g of mixed nuts or seeds each day will help towards increasing this little beauty.
I would recommend all to have a look at their typical weekly diet and review your essential fat intake. If you feel that its on the low side and devoid of oily fish, nuts and seeds, avocado and oils then high potential that you are deficient. Easy steps to rectify this are ensuring you have 2 portions of oily fish per week and a handful of nuts and seeds per day.
Here is an easy salmon tray bake recipe for starters!
400g trimmed green beans
200g broccoli florets
200g asparagus spears
1 tsp. chilli flakes
Salt & pepper
Juice of 2 lemons, plus husks
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
30 g black greek olives
4 vines of cherry tomatoes (vines included)
4 salmon fillets
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 5. Place the veggies and seasoning in a large roasting pan, squeezing over the juice of 1 lemon. Drizzle with olive oil. Scatter in the olives and place the tomatoes on top. Arrange the fillets, skin-side down on the top and squeeze over the second lemon, throwing in the husks. Roast for 20 minutes. The tomatoes and lemon will make a wonderful juice to spoon over the fish.
If you wish to find out more about how you can be including the right Fats in your diet, then contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a ring on 07894 111 433 to discuss your goals.