Fat – A simple three letter word that sends many dieters running towards the horizon. Hundreds of thousands of people are trying to cut fat out of their diet in a desperate bid to ‘be healthier and lose weight’’. The idea is, in a sort, correct. I mean saturated fats absolutely do clog up your arteries, cause diabetes, weight gain, mood swings, and more. The problem is, over the years, the media has portrayed all fat as the devil, not taking into account that there are both good and bad fats. Let’s focus on healthy fats and why they are essential for optimal health.
1. Could Boost Your Metabolism
Omega 3’s balance your blood sugars and help to reduce inflammation, making for less energy spikes and sugar cravings throughout the day. MCT fats (multi chain triglycerides) are easier to break down and convert to energy than saturated fats, giving your body more energy to burn, thus increasing the metabolism.
2. Could improve your skin
Each skin cell is surrounded by two layers of fat known as the phospholipd bilayer. It is this layer that waterproofs our skin, whilst keeping it looking plump and healthy. Omega 3 fats not only make up a significant part of this layer, but they also are also highly anti-inflammatory and help with skin regeneration by providing the building blocks for the skin. On top of this, many sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, and seeds also contain vitamin E. Coconut oil contains lauric acid too- a super skin healer! It also has anti-microbial properties.
3. Could improve your brain function
Believe it or not, our brain comprises of 60% fat! Surprise surprise – in order for our brains to work optimally, we need to be consuming plenty of healthy fats. A diet high in monounsaturated fats significantly changes the fat profile around the brain and increases acetylcholine production. Acetylcholine is responsible for enhanced learning and an increase in cognitive function which could also potentially lower the risk for Alzheimers. Get your omega fats from high quality fish oils or flaxseed oil. Nordic Naturals Fish Oils have no nasty fishy taste or aftertaste!
4. Good For Your Joints
! Fish oil supplements are used by many to improve joint mobility and ease pain, but how does it work? Well, as we have already mentioned, omega oils are anti-inflammatory which helps any inflammation within the tissues around the joint. Research has shown that the same pathway that triggers inflammation in arthritis can also be stopped by omega 3’s.
5. Can Aid Weight Loss
Eating a diet rich in saturated fats can keep you fuller for longer, thus preventing sugar spikes and over-snacking. As discussed earlier, it can also help to boost your metabolism – yay!
6. Vitamin Absorption
The essential vitamins that our body requires are vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. Vitamins B and C are water soluble vitamins. Think water, the letters B and C, and what do you wear in the water? A bathing costume! 🙂 Vitamins A, D, E and K however are fat soluble vitamins meaning they require fat in order for them to be broken down and absorbed by the body. For this reason it is super important that we eat enough fat for our bodies to be able to utilise these vitamins!
7.Support Our Hormones
Eating a variety of healthy fats is integral to having balanced hormones. Our bodies need different types of fats to create the building blocks that make hormones. Again the food sources for these fats such as avocado, coconut oil, egg yolks, ghee, nuts etc, also contain the essential nutrients we need for hormone production eg. A whole vitamin spectrum, folic acid, potassium, iron, calcium etc
8. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Lest we forget, fat can actually be good for your heart. Let’s bring it back to basics. There are two different types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. LDL cholesterol is the bad cop, and HDL is the good cop. LDL is the cholesterol responsible for clogging up your arteries, significantly increasing the risk for heart disease and heart attacks. LDL comes from saturated fat sources such as animal fat, hydrogenated fats (found in low fat or normal margarines), cream, pastries etc. HDL cholesterol however is the superhero of the fat world. It patrols the blood stream seeking out LDL cholesterol which it attaches to and removes from the blood stream, almost like a plumber clearing a pipe.
HDL cholesterol are found usually in omega 3 fats. Fantastic sources of these include oily fish, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, olive oil, etc.