Did you know that not all fats are created equal?
Over 20 years ago, I believed any fat would make me fat, so I avoided all fats when possible. But I was oh so wrong! Most of us are familiar with trans fatty acids and saturated fats, but not enough of us know about the essential fatty acids. These are the awesome fats necessary for our well-being! We cannot survive without them. These are needed for each cell in the body to function properly. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are types of polyunsaturated fats considered essential because they cannot be manufactured by the body, and since our bodies cannot produce them, we must eat them!
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are best found in natural, unheated foods. For example:
- Omega-3 Fats: flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, wild salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and Brussel sprouts are also known sources of omega-3s.
- Omega-6 Fats: yellow sweet corn, avocados, nuts and seeds.
- Omega-9 Fats: These are also known as oleic acids or monounsaturated fats. Canola, sunflower, olive and nut oils, and olives. Unlike omega-3s and omega-6s, omega-9s can be produced by the body, but are also beneficial when they are obtained in food.
- Our Endocrine/Hormonal System: EFA’s help balance the hormonal system in males and females to function properly. They help us to produce prostaglandins, which help to produce progesterone, which can help to prevent premenstrual tension and associated pain with menstruation.
- Our Skin: EFA’s help to keep your skin healthy and youthful by increasing the softness and smoothness of your skin.
- Our Immune System: EFA’s build and balance a strong and healthy immune system with which we fight infection and prevent allergies.
- Our Brain: The human brain is nearly 60 % fat. EFA’s help to improve mood, memory, and optimal brain function.
- Our Hearts: Research has shown that omega-9 fatty acids or monounsaturated fat can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. They increase HDL (“healthy”) cholesterol and decrease LDL (“lethal”) cholesterol. They help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, which is a culprit for heart attacks and strokes.
What are you feeding your brain and body today ? It’s all about finding the right balance.
The challenge is that many of us eat an abundance of omega-6 and omega-9 fats, mostly in heated form, but not enough of the omega-3s. Consider adding a teaspoon of chia or flaxseeds to your smoothie or oatmeal or a sprinkle of nuts and seeds, or even an avocado to your salad. Search for other creative ways to include them into your meals.
My favorite essential fatty acid supplement is AIMEGA. I never go a day without it. For more information about AIM supplements and nutrition, please visit my website at aliveagainonline.com.
Nutritious Power Bowl
You can really pack a punch when serving power bowls. It’s a great way to boost your meals with good fats and a super idea for a quick meal. Mix and match the items below to create your own power bowl.Greens:
- raw or steamed kale
- finely sliced spinach
- spring greens
- watercress or micro-greens
- flat-leaf parsley
- mixed colored peppers, diced
- English cucumbers, diced
- pickled red onions
- spring onions, sliced
- baby tomatoes
- purple cabbage, thinly sliced
- mushrooms, sliced, sautéed or raw
- raw or cooked beets
- avocado, diced
- raw nuts and seeds
- green lentils
- black beans
- butter beans
- chicken breast
- grilled salmon
- brown basmati rice
- cauliflower rice (not a grain, but can be used instead of a grain).
*Serve with dressing of choice.
Quick Nut and Seed CrunchIngredients:
3/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1/8 cup shelled pumpkin seeds/pepitas
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey
1 Tablespoon avocado oilDirections:
- Set oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. Spread on a baking tray and bake for 15–20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store crunch mixture in a sealed container until ready to use.
- Add as a topper to chopped fruit, smoothies, chia seed pudding, overnight oats, raw salads, or simply enjoy as a snack alone.
is the founder of Alive Again LLC, wife of a missionary, and the mother of three beautiful daughters. She is a regular nutritionist guest consultant on WIS-TV, and her speaking engagements include corporate seminars and church groups. She would love for you to visit Leré’s Barn where she features healthy cooking demos, wellness educational classes, and custom corporate and group talks. For more information please visit AliveAgainOnline.com.