The fat family has a bad reputation.
They all seem a bit wayward, not good to be around and bad for our neighbourhood.
This reputation is all down to the rumoured shenanigans of one family member, saturated fat, and his definitely dodgey distant cousin, trans-fat.
However, this belies the fact that other members of the fat family are actually very nice and can provide all sorts of benefits to us, if we just got to know them a bit better!
Indeed, there are 2 types of fat in particular that are absolutely essential for us to get to know, as they help to keep our heart and blood healthy, are essential for hormones and cell membranes, vital to brain development for children, metabolism boosting and anti-inflammatory to boot. Sure, why wouldn't we become acquainted!
The fats in question are omega 3 and omega 6.
Essential, in this context, not only means vital for health, but also means that we can only get these fats from our diet. Have a look at some of the sources below:
provides, by far, the best source of omega 3. Think salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines - fresh, if possible, 2 times per week. Fish is so easy to cook in the oven. A fillet of salmon takes only about 15 mins, if even, at 180C.
Nuts and Seeds: the best vegetarian sources of omega 3 are flaxseed and chia seed. Flax is generally much cheaper and is best consumed raw and ground. Linwoods has a good range and are found in most supermarkets, or Lidl and Aldi also do similar, cheaper versions. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons per day on cereal, or blitz into soups at the end of cooking, or into smoothies. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of omega 3, as well as walnuts. Nuts and seeds have the added advantage of including a lot of the vitamins and minerals required to process this oil in the body, as well as fibre for digestion.
Nut and Seeds:
Omega 6 is a lot more available in a range of nuts and seeds, such as sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, safflower, walnut, almond, etc. A handful of nuts with some fruit would be a fantastic snack, or looking for a ground seed range that includes 50% flax and a mix of some others would work as well (again, look for the Linwoods range). Sprinkle on cereal or blitz into soups or smoothies.
Oils: Evening primrose, borage or black currant seed oil all contain good levels of a type of omega 6, called GLA, and are good for addressing the symptoms of PMS and arthritis.
So adding a few of the above to your weekly shopping list and incorporating them into your diet will literally do you the world of good. This is especially the case for young tots, who still have a lot of growing to do!
A really nice recipe that incorporates a mix of nuts and seeds is this Grain Free Granola. I'm going to make a batch to bring on holidays as I always find it hard to get a good cereal that I like. Madness maybe, but I'm looking forward to it already!
Photo from: photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jettajet/2700095244/">~Jetta Girl~</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</aphoto credit: ~Jetta Girl~ via photopin cc_