For decades we have been told to avoid fat at all costs: it keeps weight on and isn’t good for our heart. More recently, top medical experts are in agreement that the right kind of fat is necessary for long-term weight loss and overall health—a huge shift from the mindset several years ago with the fat-free craze. However, when we look closer at why this may be true, it makes perfect sense.
There are 4 basic categories of fats, classified by their chemical structure: monounsaturated (olive oil), polyunsaturated (fatty fish, nuts), saturated (red meat, dairy) and trans (fried foods, margarine). Many foods can contain more than one type but there is usually a majority of one subtype contained in each.
Why are fats necessary?
Your brain is almost entirely made of fat, as are protective layers called myelin around nerve cells. Fats provide a great source of energy and satiation (so you feel full on less calories) and are necessary to absorb your fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, and K). They are also the backbone of many of the body’s hormones- not eating enough can seriously alter the amount the body makes- and not in a good way. So whether you want to lose weight, keep your brain function optimal or maximize your overall health, fats need to be an important part of your diet. The question is: which ones?
The latest research
In a recent epidemiological study from the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers explored whether the type of fat consumed negatively impacted cardiovascular health. They found, shockingly to many, that it wasn’t just about the saturated fat people consumed, but rather, the lack of the healthy polyunsatured (and monounsaturated) fats. Basically, it’s not just about avoiding the well-known negative impacts of saturated and trans fats, but including the mono/polyunsaturated ones on a regular basis. The study went even further to say that saturated fats aren’t the worst of the bunch—in fact, excluding saturated fats and eating refined carbohydrates in its place (white bread, pasta) may be worse than saturated fats alone! However, the consensus on trans fats still hold true: they do not provide any health benefit and should be minimized at all costs.
Fat makes you smart and skinny
So we have now learned two things: not all fats are created equal, and avoiding saturated fats while substituting simple carbohydrates can be the most detrimental on the heart and blood sugar regulation. The importance of including more of the ‘good guys’ and less of the ‘bad’ will keep your body from aging prematurely, and your waistline slim.
When you consume enough of the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats on a regular basis, you will find you eat less, have fewer cravings and improve your brain function (say hello to a better memory and mood). Aim to include 1 serving of healthy fats at each meal and snack to reap the benefits. Here are some of my favourite snack ideas to include more of the healthy fats to your daily routine:
- Avocado with a bit of lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt
- Chia seeds, hemp seeds and ground flaxseeds with blueberries and almond milk.
- A handful of raw almonds, walnuts and cashews
- Greek yogurt with honey and berries.
- Smoothie made with coconut milk, banana, cocoa powder, cinnamon and your favourite clean protein powder
- Goat cheese on wholegrain toast or crackers
- Celery or apples slices dipped in almond butter
So it’s time to nurture your brain and body with quality fats that keep you young and slim. Ditch the simple carbohydrates and make room for the nutrients that matter most!
Deep Body Media Corp.