Fats are an extremely important macronutrient for so many functions in our body. So many clients get worried when I encourage them to eat a diet high in healthy fats.
We have been misinformed about healthy fats and people are led to believe that they will gain weight from them. There is also many diseases that are linked to diets high in fat but it's important to remember that not all fats are created equally. Fat can actually help boost your metabolism, when you’re eating the good kinds of course. There is also something called our basal metabolic rate which how many calories we burn in a resting state. This means that two people living the same lifestyle can be different weights.
Fats are essential for basic human functions like providing our bodies with insulation and padding our internal organs as well as more complex processes like producing hormones and supporting our nervous system.
More specifically, monounsaturated fat has been linked to protecting against heart disease, improving mood and mental wellbeing, helping absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D,E, K and minerals which are essential in the prevention of numerous diseases. They have also been linked to improving insulin sensitivity and weight loss.
There are many ways to intake healthy fats. There are oils like olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil, foods like olives and avocado as well as nuts and seeds. These oils for example are also anti-inflammatory, help with brain function and are sources of good cholesterol meaning they actually promote heart health unlike other sources of fat.
So what about essential fatty acids? What are they and why are they essential? These fatty acids are essential because our body cannot produce them on their own and they have to come from the diet. Our bodies need omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids but we often get more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s which is the opposite ratio that what we want. Without getting too in depth there are also a couple types of omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, DHA and EPA. We can get EPA and DHA from sources such as fatty fish and hemp seeds. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in things such as corn and soybean oil as well as sunflower oil.
Why do we need them? Well they are important for decreasing inflammation in our body, promoting heart health, boosting our immune system, promoting strong and healthy hair, nails and skin, and the health of our brain to name a few. You may notice you are deficient if you suffer from dry and cracked skin, fragile fingernails, dandruff.
Fats and Weight Loss/Gain
I am not someone that promotes the idea of dieting and I believe that it can actually be very detrimental to someone who is trying to lose weight. Instead I focus on eating wholesome and nutrient dense foods, moving your body, reducing stress, sleeping well and drinking lots of water - so a whole lifestyle approach. Its about eating the right types of fats and getting rid of processed and refined foods and carbohydrates. Its also about not living a sedentary lifestyle and making sure you're active every day, even if its just for a few minutes.
Our modern lifestyle also plays a big role in weight gain. Our society is stressed and busy. When we are in this constant state of stress, our stress hormone, cortisol, is released. This has been linked to increased appetite and weight gain in some individuals. Other modern day lifestyle factors include the access to fast foods and packaged goods that contain high amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats. This can lead to serious heath conditions down the road.
Here are the key points:
Healthy fats are ESSENTIAL to our diet.
Don't fear fat but make sure you are getting the good stuff
Cut our fried foods and processed foods
Drink lots of water
Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night
Good sources of fat:
nuts and seeds
nut and seed butter
coconut oil and butter
nut and seed milks
avocado oil and olive oil
In good health,
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