Fat is vital to consume. Why was there ever a low-fat craze? We are clearly seeing now that low-fat or no-fat diets are not healthy for our bodies. Fats are essential and we need them for many functions in the body, so there is no reason to be afraid of them. Of course, if you eat a whole jar of nut butter that may cause a few problems, so let’s just be reasonable.
There are two main types of fatty acids that can change your health for better or worse. Knowing the difference is an important part of understanding why fat is healthy.
Fat is Healthy
What does fat do? It has many important roles in the body.
- Vitamin Absorption
- Vitamins A, D, E and K all need fat to be absorbed. These are very important and cannot get absorbed into the body without fat. These vitamins are also stored in fat cells.
- Keeps us full because they are heavy and calorie dense. This helps prevent overeating.
- If glucose is not available, the body will use fat. (This is the part of the basis for the keto craze)
- Brain Development and Nerve Function
- Nerve cells are insulated with fats and that insulation is important for proper communication.
- Particularly vitamin D is shown to be important for cognitive function and are only absorbed through fat (like bullet #1)
- Sex hormones need fat to be properly regulated.
- Cell Membranes
- Your body is quite literally ALL cells. Every cell membrane needs to be properly built so the right particles can or can’t pass through. If this does not function properly, you can run into many problems like nutrients not being absorbed correctly. It’s like a weak built wall versus a strong concrete wall.
- Curb cravings
- A spoonful of almond butter or other fatty snacks will make your cravings go away but don’t overdo it.
- Pregnancy development
- It is very important for pregnant women to eat healthy fats to help with fetal brain development
Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6)
Omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential fatty acids (body cannot make on own, must get from diet) and both are important for our health.
Omega-6’s are technically bad, but that is due to American’s current diets: vegetable oils, soybeans oils, margarine and the fats in processed foods or fried foods are the primary source. Oils that come from sources that are not fats to begin with cause problems due to over processing. These inflammation causing foods can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, depression, osteoporosis, among other conditions. Omega-6’s cause inflammation if consumed from a poor source. Omega-3’s are anti-inflammatory. There should be a balance of both of these from good sources as they both help with the important roles in the body.
Here’s an example of a processed food. Mayo is mainly soybean oil which is an unhealthy fat. Fat is healthy if you can find a better version with no soy or canola oil.
Read more about Healthy Cooking Fats
Eat These For Omega-3s:
- Any grass fed/pasture-raised natural animal product – beef, butter, ghee
- The fat content changes depending on animal’s diet
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Leafy greens
Avoid These High Omega-6 foods:
- Factory farmed meats
- Peanut/nut butters with hydrogenated oils
- Vegetable oils – canola, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower
- Fried foods
Fresh Idea: Fat is healthy, so include more from good sources as there are many health benefits.