Does this sound like you or anyone you know?
- “My muscles are easily fatigued”
- “I get tension headaches at the base of my skull”
- “I crave fatty or greasy foods”
- “I tend to sunburn easily”
- “I have dry skin or dandruff”
- “I eat a lot of low fat foods”
- “I lack consistent energy between meals”
- “My hormones are imbalanced”
These are all signs that you may be deficient in essential fatty acids. Why should we focus on incorporating healthy fats into the diet? And why do we call them essential? Fats are an incredible fuel source for our bodies. They enable us to have consistent energy and help us to feel satiated. They help to balance blood sugar. Fats are the building blocks for all human cell membranes and hormones. They are also necessary for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins in the body (most notably Vitamins A, D, E and K). They control inflammation in the body, and are crucial to brain health and mood. They also make your hair and skin feel great. Our bodies also do not make these fats, so they need to come from whole food, nutrient dense sources. This is why it is important to know the difference between healthy fats and toxic fats, and to make sure you are getting enough of these nutrients in your diet.
What are healthy fats
These fats provide the essential fatty acids your body needs. They are not damaged or inflammatory due to processing and or heating. They come from whole food sources, rather than being man made. Know that different fats have different heat capacities. Some great food sources are:
- Coconut oil
- Grass fed Butter & Ghee
- Duck Fat, Lard, & Tallow
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Sesame oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Fatty Fish & Cod Liver oil
- Nuts & Seeds
What are unhealthy fats
Many fats used in the processed foods that make up much of the Standard American Diet (SAD) are damaged, highly inflammatory, rancid, and toxic. They are man made and have to go through many chemical processes to be created, including oxidation, heating and bleaching.
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Rapeseed oil
- Safflower oil
- Vegetable oil
- Hydrogenated oils
Myth #1: “But fat has more calories”
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me say that health is not about calories. It’s more important to focus on quality nutrients than calories. Eating enough healthy fat supports healthy weight over the long-term. It also promotes satiety and provides consistent energy. It burns slow and steady, rather than carbohydrates which burn quickly.
Myth #2: “But I thought fat makes you fat”
Your metabolism is far more complicated than this/ Overeating processed sugar and refined carbohydrates plays a far bigger role in weight gain than eating healthy fat does. The fact is that you need to eat fat in order to be able to burn fat, otherwise you get stuck in the sugar burning mode, which promotes weight gain.
Myth #3: “Aren’t Low Fat Foods a better option?”
Low fat foods are often higher in sugar and other additives. They can also impair the digestion of those fat soluble vitamins we talked about earlier. Simply reducing dietary fat does not have any specific benefit. The truth is that your body needs those fatty acids. Not to mention they make foods taste WAY better!
3 Ways to get more healthy fats into your diet
- Add Fat to Vegetables – this not only makes them taste better, but it is necessary to help absorb the nutrients from these foods
- Eat Fatty Fish – Salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring, sardines are rich in the essential omega 3 fats EPA & DHA
- Garnish – Finish off your meal with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, chunk of grass fed butter or half an avocado.
Lastly, “What if I Can’t Digest My Fats?”
Some people may need some digestive support before increasing fat consumption. This may be the case for you if you have had your gallbladder removed or compromised, experience digestive upset after eating fats, or have been consistently eating a diet of low fat or poor fat foods for a while. This can be addressed through bioindivideal nutritional therapy strategies, and I’d love to coach you through that. Reach out for a FREE discovery call today.