Say Hello to These Healthy FatsLisanne Wellness Center
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you already know a bit about fat. Or at least, you know that the fat found in cookies, cakes, butter, and cheese products can pack on the pounds and make weight loss seem futile. And so, if you’re like most of us, you avoid fat like the plague any time you want to drop a few pounds. Unfortunately, avoiding fat completely can have the opposite effect.
Your body needs fat to function. Without it, your body can’t absorb some fat-soluble vegetables and you can’t process vitamins A, D and E. Without fat, your nervous system can’t function properly. In fact, in a study in Circulation, women who consumed a Mediterranean diet (high in unsaturated fats) were 29% less likely to develop heart disease than those who avoided these “good fats.” People who follow Mediterranean diets also tend to weigh less than those who don’t. The question, therefore, isn’t whether or not to avoid fats, but how to know which fats are good and which are bad. Good fats include unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Saturated fat falls in the middle, with some forms being unhealthy and others being good for you in moderation. Finally, you have the bad fats, aka trans fats.
The benefits of eating good fats
Unsaturated fats raise your good cholesterol levels (HDLs), lower bad cholesterol levels (LDLs), prevent the buildup of plaque in your arteries, and prevent belly fat (which is associated with heart disease and heart attacks). Polyunsaturated fats provide big doses of omega 3 fatty acids, which improve brain function, strengthen your immune system, boost your mood, and improve your skin, hair, and nail health. Healthy forms of saturated fats, like coconut oil and MCT Oil can actually help you burn fat. Like polyunsaturated fats, they can also improve your skin and hair health, as well as make your brain sharper. It’s important to be smart about saturated fats and eat them in moderation, especially in conjunction with omega-3 fatty acids from polyunsaturated fats.
The dangers of eating bad fats
Trans fats are the worst possible fats you can consume, as they are saturated fats that have been chemically altered to improve their shelf life. They increase your bad cholesterol levels and lower your good cholesterol. While unhealthy forms of saturated fat (fatty burgers, bacon, red meat etc.) contribute to heart disease risk, trans fats actively push your body toward heart failure. They’re like little health saboteurs.
Which fats should you eat?
Avoid trans fats completely if you can. For saturated fats, consume healthy varieties that boost your brain function and improve your skin and hair. Some good examples are coconut oil and MCT oil. For polyunsaturated fats, focus on getting as many omega 3s and as few omega 6s as possible. Good sources of omega 3s include fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout, as well as walnuts, sesame seeds, and flax seeds. Good sources of unsaturated fats include olive oil, avocados, and peanut butter. No matter what kind of fat you choose, make sure you don’t consume more than 30% of your calories from fat.
What about supplements?
Depending on your diet, you may not be able to get adequate amounts of healthy fats from your diet alone. If that’s the case, you can take a supplement for omega 3 like OmegaPure RX. Not sure if you’re getting enough omega 3 in your diet? You can take this simple Omega-3 test to see if your levels are not low. Deficiency of omega-3 fats can lead to many degenerative conditions like poor cognitive function, depression, increased risk of heart diseases, certain cancers and even Alzheimer’s.
Fat is an important part of a balanced diet. Your body simply can’t function how it’s supposed to if you completely cut it out. But eating the wrong kind of fat can lead to heart disease, weight gain, heart attacks, and other unpleasant results. By focusing on healthy fats, you can give your body what it needs to flourish while also keeping your waistline trim. For more tips on finding a healthy balance of fat in your diet, contact Lisanne Wellness Center at 713-461-WELL. Our nutrition consultants can help you develop a healthy eating plan to keep you energized and healthy,