Why You Should Include Healthy Fats In Your Diet

Avocado

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No one can deny that the percentage of Americans being overweight is rising fast and is now a major issue facing America. Obesity will also soon become a major health concern for many countries. For many years, we were told that the problem of obesity is directly related to the amount of fat intake that a person consumes in their diet. This is why we now have many foods which are low fat this, and non-fat that. For the last 30 years, health professionals have advocated that a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss, lower cholesterol levels and avoiding chronic illnesses.

For years, we have been told that a person’s weight is proportional to the amount of dietary fat that is consumed. While the amount of fat can be adduced to, the real culprits are calories, and calories come from many sources in our diet. It comes from fats, carbohydrates and sugar in the foods that we consume every day. Calories act as fuel for our bodies. Without calories, our body would not have the energy to perform everyday activities.

I wish that I could say to keep track of the amount of calories that you eat and burn the same if not more each day (to get a rough estimate of how many calories you burn you could try a product such as FitBit). The problem is however, not all calories are created equal. So what I mean is that one calorie from an apple is far different to one calorie from a chocolate bar. You want to stick to the ‘good’ calories in whole foods. The bad calories are the ones that you will find in packaged foods and take out foods. Packaged foods are also usually the ones that will be giving you the unhealthy fats.

In recent years, studies have shown that dietary fat is an important component of a healthy diet. In fact, fat is actually needed by our bodies. Our bodies utilize fats to maintain the integrity of our cell membranes, absorb nutrients and improve nerve transmissions. Fat also provides fatty acids that help in the delivery of fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K, to different parts of the body. It also assists in the conversion of carotene to Vitamin A that helps in mineral absorption. And finally, it also helps keep our skin healthy and provides energy for our body. Fats can be found in all kinds of food and in different quantities. All fats have the same amount of calories, about 9 calories per gram.

The problem is that not all fats are created equally and depending on their type, can be beneficial or harmful to our bodies. Unsaturated fats, further divided into monounsaturated and the polyunsaturated fats, are defined as “good” or “healthy” fats. The “bad” fats, on the other hand, are further divided into two types – the saturated fat and trans fat.

The Beneficial Effects Of Unsaturated Fats

The sources of unsaturated fat are whole foods such as nuts, seeds, fatty fish such as salmon and vegetables. Whenever possible, try and get the fat or oil from natural organic sources. This type of fat remains in liquid form at room temperature. The key to a healthier nutrition is to replace the “bad” fats with the greatest amount of “good” fats as possible in your diet.

Keeps Your Heart Healthy

These fats lower the level of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that can clog up your arteries, and increase the levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol which acts as a cleaning agent and destroys the plaques that form in the arteries. This prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and hypertension.

Improved Brain Function

Aside from lowering the LDL, polyunsaturated fats contains DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acids. Being an essential oil, this means that omega-3 is not produced by the body and needs to be received from dietary sources such as fatty fishes. Omega-3 helps boost brain development and functions like speaking, motor skills and memory. Polysaturated fat is also found to improve mental conditions like depression, bipolar disorder and ADHD.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Omega-3 oils have also been found to reduce hypertension and lower triglyceride levels. They help improve the elasticity of blood vessels, keep the heart beating normally in rhythm and “thin” the blood to make it less sticky and susceptible to clots.

Healthy Skin

Monounsaturated fats, such as those found in avocados, are filled with Vitamin E that help maintain the elasticity of the skin and keep it healthy.

Stronger Bones

Healthy fats contribute to the faster absorption of the mineral calcium which hels in making our bones stronger. Fat-soluble vitamins are needed to be combined with calcium to facilitate easier and faster absorption of this mineral into our bones.

Proper Nerve Signaling

The nerves serve as the communication pathways from our brain to the different body parts and organs that perform important tasks. Certain fats keep this pathway healthy for proper nerve function and protection. The nerves influences everything that happens in our body and the functions that they do like muscle movements, metabolism and sense of touch.

Boost The Immune System

Certain fats strengthen the membranes of our cells and improve our immune system. Some fats found in coconut and palm oils help boost the immune system by helping the white blood cells identify foreign invaders such as viruses and germs and destroy them.

Helps Lose Weight

Studies have shown that monounsaturated fats helps in the development of lean muscles. Also, switching from a diet filled with saturated fats and trans fat to a diet abundant with monounsaturated fats, combined with exercise, results in faster weight loss.

Improved Reproductive Health

Fat is needed by both men and women to be able to manufacture hormones and increase gene signaling for hormone manufacturing. A “good” fat intake permits higher levels of androgen, libido, lower body fat, increased athletic performance and better reproductive health.

Lastly, it is important to keep this advice in mind. Although healthy fats are essential in our overall well-being, it is very important not to go overboard. All fats are high in calories, even the healthy ones, so it is advisable to keep your fat consumption in moderation. Remember, the goal is to replace the “bad” fats with the “good” fats, not supplement them.

About Shannon Kingsley

Shannon loves all things outdoors such as hiking, camping, and bike riding. After her second child Shannon was left with large stretch marks and is now passionate about helping others prevent and help reduce their own stretch marks as well as reduce other skin spots & blemishes. She can be found at http://curesforstretchmarks.com and http://skinhealthbody.com
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