Women have been led to believe that if we eat fat, we become fat. That is not true. The low fat epidemic has actually influenced us to miss out on wonderful nutrients that nourish our body and replace them with artificial sweeteners and flavours. Symptoms such as dry skin, thinning hair and brittle nails are signs of a diet deficient in natural fats.
There are three main types of nourishing fats: saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. The fats we want to avoid at all costs are the yucky trans fats.
Fats do have a lot of calories, hence the reason we have become afraid of eating them, however we are not concerned with the calories. We want to be more concerned with the quality of foods we are eating. The more you consume empty calories, the less your skin will glow and the more cravings you will have since your body is searching for essential minerals and vitamins. Fat gives a feeling of satiety that decreases cravings and over-eating.
Good fats are essential for our optimal wellbeing. These fats have numerous important functions that give us our ‘glow’ nourishing us from the inside out. They are essential for rebuilding cells and hormone production. Our bodies do not make essential fatty acids, we can only get them from the foods we eat. That’s why it becomes so important to eat the right fats.
Fats that nourish our body:
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are the polyunsaturated fats that we really need and these are found mostly in fatty fish such as wild-caught salmon, trout and sardines. Omega-3 can benefit various aspects of our body such as brain health, joint health, heart health, skin health, and eye health. They are naturally high in anti-inflammatory compounds and also improve the Omega-3/Omega-6 balance in the body. Two servings of fatty fish per week is recommended.
Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory and the modern diet usually contains an excessive amount, even from seemingly ‘healthy’ foods such as seeds and grains as well as refined vegetable oils, processed foods, and meat and eggs from grain-fed animals.
*Note we want to consume more omega-3 than omega-6.
The one ‘good’ omega-6 fat we should opt for is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), found in evening primrose oil. It is unique from the other omega-6 fats and possesses anti-inflammatory mechanisms involved in keeping our skin hydrated and in particular providing support for cell membranes.
You may not have heard of omega-9, that is because it is not essential, our bodies can produce it in small amounts. However, if we do not have an efficient level of omega-3 and omega-6, our bodies struggle to produce omega-9. Omega-9 is a monounsaturated fat, and can easily be absorbed by consuming olives, avocados and nuts.
Avocados are nutrient dense fruits that play an important role in reducing inflammation in the body and are integral for skin conditioning, texture and glow. They are packed full of potassium and vitamin E, avocadoes not only take care of skin but also help modulate blood pressure.
Coconut & coconut oil is a highly nutritious saturated fat. It is amazing for hormone health. It provides the necessary building blocks for hormone production, can assist weight loss, reduce inflammation, and even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Coconut does not oxidise easily at high temperatures or go rancid easily, making it a good choice for cooking and baking. If you haven’t tried Coyo (coconut yoghurt) your missing out, it is delicious!
Olive Oil is high in monounsaturated fats and low in polyunsaturated fats. It shouldn’t be used for cooking since its high monounsaturated fat content makes it susceptible to oxidation at high temperatures. Olive oil also aids in reducing inflammation.
Butter has had some bad publicity over the years but it is actually a highly nutritious fat. It is the most easily absorbable source of vitamin A, which supports the thyroid and adrenal glands, and in turn, the cardiovascular system. Butter is a good source of dietary cholesterol, which acts as an anti-oxidant, repairing damage from free radicals caused by rancid fats such as vegetable oils and trans fats. Cholesterol is also important for the development of the brain and nervous system in children.
Eggs are another all-star in the healthy fats community, eggs are loaded with B vitamins, healthy fats and necessary cholesterol. Consume them daily from free -range sources.
Never Eat These Fats:
Trans Fats. All foods that contain trans fatty acids are labeled now. These are some of the worst fats because they raise our LDL levels, the types of cholesterol we don’t want raised and lower our HDL our good cholesterol levels. They are found in vegetable oils’ – i.e. the ‘yellow’ oils found in clear plastic bottles at the supermarket, fried foods, commercial baked goods like donuts, cookies, crackers, processed foods and margarine. These fats cause inflammation and mutation in cells.
A focus on health, rather than weight is imperative as is a focus on the nutrient-density of foods, rather than calories.
Be nourished naturally.