When we were kids we had a difficult time. The supplements that we needed like Omega 3 and 6 for health tasted horrible. I remember us having to take Seven Seas cod liver oil or Scotts Emulsion the white one in order to stay healthy and for strong bones and teeth. We hated the taste because of its fishy taste that left a bad taste in our mouths. Most of the time when we were given a spoonful we wouldn’t swallow we would go and spit it out. When our parents found out they started giving us cod liver oil capsules which they would tell us to swallow as they watched. We had to do so but eventually we would put the capsules under our tongues and just swallow the water. Then we would spit it out. It is amazing that we turned out as healthy as we did but it was probably because we drank a lot of whole milk.
Although at the time I found it very funny to dupe my parents the prank came to haunt me later when I started having issues with my knees and pain. I got arthritis in my knees in my 20s and this probably would have been prevented had I just taken the cod liver oil like I should have. That’s why we made sure that my nephew started taking cod liver oil early and weirdly unlike us he actually likes the capsules and bursts them to taste the fish oil.
Unilever East Africa last week launched the new Blue Band spread with Omega 3 and Omega 6. I am pretty excited about it because it gives children around the country a chance to get essential fats in their diet without their parents having to spend extra money on supplements. It also has a great taste. According to the Ministry of Health nutrition related illnesses affect very many children, more than 25% of children below the age of 5.
In addition to the seven vitamins currently in Blue Band, Canola oil (Rape Seed Oil) has now been added. This is what makes Blue Band rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. The new blue band will help to improve their nutrition. The World Health Organization recommends that kids above the age of 2 need to have 25-35% of daily kilojoules coming from fat.
Although fats have gotten a bad reputation over the last few years they are actually important for our diet. They are a source of energy, they also provide essential fats, they are also a carrier for vitamin A, D, E and K and improves uptake of fat soluble nutrients.
As I had said earlier there are good and bad fats. Bad fats are saturated fats which are mostly animal sources and Trans fats which are found in commercially produced pastries and foods like butter, beef, whole milk and mutton. Bad fats raise cholesterol levels and put people at a risk of developing heart disease. They should be taken in moderation.
Good fats are unsaturated fats. They are good for your health. There are two types. Mono-unsaturated fats like olives, olive oil, avocado and nuts like almonds and peanuts. Polyunsaturated fats are known as essential fatty acids and are divided into Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 are important for healthy growth and development. Our bodies cannot produce essential fats, which is why we must get them from the food we eat.
Omega 3 can be found in fish particularly oily fish like sardines and salmon. You can get it from plants like walnuts, flax seed, Soya beans and rapeseed (canola) and in all vegetable oils, margarine, and spreads made from these.
Omega 6 is gotten from plant foods like sesame seeds, corn, sunflower seeds and in in all vegetable oils, margarine, and spreads made from these.
What is the importance of essential fatty acids?
They are important for growth and development
They are also building blocks for new tissues. They are important for both structural and functional role in the cell.
They have a more beneficial impact on blood cholesterol then saturated fat or carbohydrates.
Unilever CEO for East Africa, Marc Engel, “With these essential nutrients, also known as good fats, Blue Band will now ensure a healthy, nutritious and tasty breakfast when used with bread or uji,” Added Engel. “We are keeping our commitment to the Kenyan people by continuing to deliver better products, for healthier diets and helping grow more great kids.”