3 Ways To Get More Essential Fats Into Your Diet

CoachMel Healthy Eating 9 Comments

Essential fats are, well, essential in our diets. Obvious, but true!

If you skimp on your fat intake, you risk not getting all the nutrients you need, and there’s a strong possibility that you’ll suffer some side effects.

Many people try to avoid fat all together, believing it will cause them to gain weight.

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And, while it’s true that fat is higher in calories (1 gram = 9 calories) than protein (1 gram = 4 calories), or carbohydrates (1 gram = 4 calories), it is your total calorie intake which will determine whether you gain fat, or lose weight.

So, as long as you aren’t overindulging, you should have no trouble maintaining your current body weight, or even losing weight (if that’s your goal) when you eat healthy fats.

Here’s 3 quick ways to add more healthy fats to your daily diet:

1. Add some flaxseeds

Flaxseed oil is very healthy, but you should never use it for cooking. Oils high in essential fatty acids are no good for cooking, because the heat quickly turns them into harmful fats.

So, what should you do with flaxseed oil? A healthy way to use flax oil is as a base for your salad dressings. Something like this may work well for you:

Mix 1/2 cup flaxseed oil, 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin.

Also, don’t forget to store your flaxseed oil in the fridge, as it goes off quickly when stored incorrectly.

Alternatively, if you’re a fan of protein shakes or smoothies, consider tossing in some flaxseeds.

You probably won’t even notice they’re in there, but they will make your shake much healthier.

All you need to do it add one tablespoon of flaxseeds with some natural yoghurt, frozen berries, baby spinach leaves, milk, and a scoop of protein powder (optional), and you’re done… easy, healthy, and delicious!

2. Add some nuts

If you like to start your day with a bowl of oatmeal, adding a few walnuts (and shhhh! don’t tell anyone… a small drizzling of maple syrup!) makes for a delicious, satisfying breakfast.

Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fats, and adding them to your breakfast is a great way to balance out a meal which tends to be a bit carb-heavy.

3. Add some fish

Do you eat fish regularly? If you’re like most people you probably don’t get enough — by “regular” I mean 1-2 portions per week.

One way to make sure you are getting enough, is to add some oily fish, such as salmon or mackerel, to your regular lunch-time salad, once or twice per week.

Salads are great for getting nutrients into your body, without adding too many calories, but protein and healthy fats are also very important.

So, here’s a delicious recipe for you to try…

Salmon Salad

Edited from Simply Recipes
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 lb salmon fillet, cooked, either poached or grilled, and cooled to at least room temperature
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, peeled, finely sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Break the cooked salmon into chunk sized pieces and add to bowl. Combine celery, red onion, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh dill in a separate dish. Gently add the dressing mixture into the bowl of salmon, mixing just enough so that all the pieces are coated. Add ground pepper to taste.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to cool and allow the flavors to blend.
  3. Serve with a slice of lemon.

If you are making this recipe to eat at work, I suggest making it the night before, and combining all of the ingredients in an airtight container. Then it will be ready to take with you in the morning.

How do you make sure you are eating enough essential fatty acids in your diet?

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Comments 9

      1. Steve Parker, M.D.

        Hey, Melanie.

        I’m still eating about 50-100 g of carbs daily, compared to the U.S. average of 250-300 g. Whole grain bread used to be one of my favorites, but I haven’t had a slice in 11 months. Hardly even think about it now.

        I’m asking my diabetic patients to cut down on the carb consumption, and I’ll have more credibility if I’ve done it myself for an extended length of time. As you well know, grain products are carb-rich and tend to raise the blood sugars of diabetics too high (the lower-GI carbs do this less, of course). That blood sugar spike can be avoided by either reducing grain intake or by taking more diabetic drugs, among other methods.

        [Are you guys across the pond hearing about the potentially severe adverse cardiovascular effects of the diabetic drug called rosiglitazone?]

        While I’m on the topic of whole grains, I’ll admit that consumption of a couple servings a day in the general population seems to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 20%. This would be a boon to diabetics, who are predisposed to heart disease in the first place.

        -Steve
        .-= Steve Parker, M.D.´s last blog ..Diabetes Consumes 7 of the UK’s Drug Budget =-.

        1. Melanie

          Hi Steve,
          I’m more and more coming to the idea that reducing carbs is a good idea for most people in the population. I think the whole “blanket” approach in the advice the government gives out is totally dated, we need to look at each individual as an individual, and stop trying to make everyone eat 6-11 portions of carbs per day.

          It’s certainly an area I’m looking into more…

  1. Stan

    This looks like a great recipe! Wild-caught salmon really is the best food source for omega 3’s.
    By all means, though, avoid farm-raised fish of any type… sad to say, but it’s just too toxic to eat more than once a month, according to a recent study sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The study analyzed salmon fillets purchased in 16 large cities in North America and Europe. They found significantly higher concentrations of contaminants such as PCBs, dioxins, and others in farmed salmon than in the wild varieties.

    In most cases, they concluded that consumption of more than one serving of farmed salmon per month could pose unacceptable cancer risks! However, you’d be allowed 4-8 servings of wild salmon in one month.
    .-= Stan´s last blog ..Jul 20- Health Benefits of Antioxidants =-.

    1. Melanie

      Hi Stan,
      I first heard something about that study when I recently visited the US, and was pretty shocked to hear about it. I’ll have to look into it further. It’s a bit annoying, as people think they’re doing something good to eat any type of fish, we shouldn’t have to worry about this type of thing.

  2. Albert

    Hi, Melanie. Thanks for the interesting insight. I think that peanuts are a good source of healthy fats and can be easily included in the diet. Peanut butter is healthy as well.

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