Whilst it is important to cut down on your consumption of saturated animal fats, cutting out too much fat from the diet can deprive us of essential fats, which play a vital role in keeping us healthy.
Essential fats are needed by the brain, nervous and immune systems, cardiovascular system and the skin, and are rarely stored as fat.
According to Dr Udo Erasmus, the world’s leading authority on fats and oils: “Dry skin, water retention, increased thirst, physical and mental exhaustion, emotional imbalance and inflammatory diseases such as eczema and arthritis, frequent infections or allergies are the first signs of essential fat deficiency.”
A deficiency in these fats is also linked to high blood pressure, dry eyes and poor memory function. The ideal ratio for good health is approximately twice the amount of omega 6 to omega 3. A low intake of essential fats can trigger depression.
There are two types of essential fatty acids (EFA’s). These are Omega 6 and Omega 3. They are termed essential because the body cannot survive without them.
Omega 6 fats are found in oils such as evening primrose oil, starflower oil and sunflower oil. They are vital for thinning blood, lowering blood pressure, maintaining water balance in the body and decreasing inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Omega 3 fats are most commonly found in oily fish such as mackerel and salmon, and in linseeds and pumpkin seeds. Omega 3 aids brain function, co-ordination and mood as well having a regulatory effect on the level of cholesterol in the blood. Sprinkling one tablespoon of linseeds plus a tablespoon of sunflower seeds onto your breakfast cereal daily creates a breakfast both high in fibre and EFAs.
Supplements that may help
There are many ways to ensure you get enough essential fats in your diet:
Essential Balance Oil is made from cold pressed linseeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and contains a healthy ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fats. Use over salads or add a couple of teaspoons to cooked dishes. Available from all good health stores.
Dr Erasmus has developed his own oil called Udos Choice made from organic flax seed, sunflower, sesame seed and wheat germ oils which is available either in bottles or in capsule form.
For details, ask your local health store. These oils are highly unstable and should be kept in the fridge and never heated.
I use these oils for my salad dressings and they taste delicious if mixed with a drop of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and a little mustard.
For anyone who has had their gall bladder removed, suffers Crohn’s disease, colitis, has a sensitive gut, irritable bowel and cannot tolerate too much oil (as the liver has to metabolise all fats and oils) use Dri-Celle essential fatty acid powder by BioCare. The EFA’s have been micro encapsulated into water-soluble fibre and then freeze dried using no oxygen or heat. This powdered formula is therefore totally stable which increases absorption dramatically. It bypasses the liver and is 100 per cent absorbed in the intestines.
Avoid buying refined, mass produced oils from supermarkets and never fry food as this makes the fat rancid, which may cause cancer.
Avoid all oils and fats that have been hydrogenated or have “trans fats” on the label. Use Vitaquell or Biona (instead of hard margarines) as they contain healthier fats, available from supermarkets and health stores