by Craig Pollard, AFitter.Me

Hello team! I hope the eating over the last month has been healthy and getting easier to understand the types of foods you’re eating. Today we will be chatting about the last major food group “fats”.

As always, let’s first do a quick recap: We’re eating 5-6 times a day (your meal sizes should be based on the amount of activity you’ll be undertaking); Drinking 1-2 litres of water throughout day, and make sure you’re getting good protein and carbohydrates (both vegetables and grains) with each meal.

Now we are going to move into the last of the three major food groups, fat.

From the very beginning we have always been told from one place or another that fats are bad, eating less or avoiding them would make us leaner, and thus healthier. Well we now know that all fats are not created equal and we have all just lumped them all together. It’s now time to understand this food group that has gotten such a bad rap.

It is true that fats such as Saturated and Trans fats should be limited in the diet as they are not only bad for you, but also counter act the ability for the good fats to do their job. Saturated and Trans fats are found in man made foods, such as fried food, processed food, processed packaged salty snacks and treats (including frozen foods). Trans fat can also be found naturally in some foods, but research has shown this type does not have an impact on risk of heat disease.

I want to spend time talking more about the good guys, and why they are so important.
The Good guys are called Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated (Essential Fatty Acids or EFA’s for short).

EFA’s are considered essential because the body needs them to function properly and cannot create them. They must be taken in through our food or supplementation. It’s important to understand all the different roles these EFA’s assist in. Here is a list of a few to get my point across:

Increase muscle cell protein synthesis Increase insulin sensitivity Help maintain proper testosterone levels Decrease inflammation Strengthen immune system Enhance stamina Speed recovery Lower high blood cholesterol Speed healing of injuries Improve sleep Improve concentration Improve skin conditions Improve cardiovascular function

These EFA’s are broken down into two types; Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Although both are required, and how you choose to get them in is up to you. It is important to know that there needs to be a balance between the two. You need a certain amount of both and most foods are high in Omega 6, most have little Omega 3 and this is why many turn to supplementation.

Here is a list of great sources of both:

Omega-3
Fish oil, Flaxseed oil, Avocados, Sesame seeds, Walnuts, Some dark leafy green Vegetables (Spinach, Kale, collards, etc.), Salmon, Mackerel, Whole eggs, Canola oil (Cold pressed and unrefined)

Omega-6
Olive oil, Olives, Sunflower oil (seeds raw), Flax or Grapeseed oils, and Pistachios to name a few.

The amount you need to take in each day is very small, but as you can see from above; very important; if you are thinking of supplementation over increasing you Omega-3 intake, its always best to chat with your doctor first, and places like Independent Grocery, and Natures Way here in town, can help you out. Natures Way has great helpful staff, also carries more than just supplements, and can be of assistance to you. Also, remember the Farmers Market is on. I was over last week and found the people very proud of their products, extremely knowledgeable about what they grow and how they grow it. It’s not huge, but stop there on your way to the grocery store, get what you can locally, and fill the holes at the produce section. J

Next month things get fun, we will start to put things together and uncover the potential issues in our current eating and find ways to eat even healthier. Get out and enjoy the summer weather with outdoor activities and keep eating healthy.

Craig is a Certified Personal Trainer and is certified in Nutrition for Sport and Performance. Craig operates AFitter.Me, a small, independent gym in Kemptville and works with iNSiDE Out STUDiO barre for Nutrition.