Quite commonly from time to time I will overhear conversations and various perceptions about an essential nutrient dear to my heart, Fat. “Eating fat will make you fat” and expressed fears of eating fats of any kind to avoid gaining weight are among the conceptions I often hear. In our society today, there is a strong focus on non-fat or low fat food products. Sometimes I almost catch myself starting to feel sorry for this lovely macronutrient. But in time, these impressions are beginning to turn around and fat is getting the recognition it deserves for being extremely important to our health and well-being.
First and foremost, it’s the right kind of fats we want to be focusing on. As a lover and advocate of fat, I must be clear that the fats I’m referring to are known as “healthy fats” or EFA’s – Essential Fatty Acids. One of the reasons fat in general has gained a bad reputation is from getting thrown together all in one big category. All fats are NOT created equal. Healthful fats such as avocados, coconut oil and olive oil were placed alongside their polar opposites when it comes to health benefits. Such undesirable fats are hydrogenated (or trans fats) and poor quality fats and highly processed vegetable oils. These are the fats linked to high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer and other major health conditions. Luckily, the difference between the healthy fats nature provides us with are becoming recognizably different from the processed fats that do not occur naturally which are a concern to our health. I am delighted to share with you my top 5 reasons for you to fall in love with healthy fats.
1. Eat healthy fats to burn fat
You may have heard this before. Due to their chemical make up and the way they are broken down by the body, fat takes longer to digest and absorb which provides you with readily available and slow burning energy. Healthy fats are nutrient dense so they keep you feeling full for longer. Certain fats like coconut oil take a different and more desirable pathway in the body when being metabolized. Instead of going directly to storage, it is burned right away. This is beneficial because it stimulates your metabolism which teaches the body how to burn fat more efficiently. I’ve recently heard the saying “An avocado a day keeps the tummy fat away.”
2. Fats are beautifying, ladies & gents
Beauty comes from within and healthy fats keep your cells smiley. They are needed to give your skin it’s healthy glow and are essential to help build strong nails. Healthy fats help keep your hair growing and flowing, healthy & shiny. The antioxidants in healthy fats prevent premature aging, liver spots and wrinkles. And as I’ve mentioned, they are little helpers with keeping unwanted fat from setting up shop on your waistline.
3. Craving Control
Consuming foods higher in fat and protein opposed to sugar will keep your cravings until control. This is because fat has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels (one of the keys to successful weight loss.) In turn, this will help diminish your appetite for sugary foods or beverages with empty calories that may only provide a quick burst of energy (mid afternoon crash, anyone?) and/or encourage weight gain.
4. Healthy fats = Healthy heart. And healthy heart = healthy libido
Healthy fats help lower LDL (the “lousy” cholesterol) while raising HDL or the “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol will actually protect us from heart disease and help lower the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body. We also need adequate amounts of HDL cholesterol to help maintain good intestinal health and strapping immune systems. And who doesn’t love a good healthy libido? Since the health of our circulatory systems correspond to sexual function, it only makes sense that healthy fats are among the top listed foods to eat for a fiery sex drive. Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds & avocados top the charts for boosting sex hormone production & circulation.
5. Healthy fats are a No-brainer
Especially when we’re talking about the nervous system. An inadequate intake of healthy fats are linked to low mood and depressive disorders, forgetfulness and feeling sluggish, lethargic and tired. Essential Fats (especially DHA) play a critical role in brain development and function (approximately 60% of our brain is fat) while helping our moods to stabilize and keep our memories sharp. The omega 3 essential fatty acids also act as natural anti inflammatories against factors prevalent in modern day diets and busy lifestyles (such as stress!) DHA can be found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and in certain algae. These are the reasons I chose to highlight but there are many more benefits to loving fat. I hope they’ve given you some ideas to include them in your diet if you don’t already. Personally, my mouth is watering as I’m ready to make a mad dash to the nearest avocado.