Why Fats are Good for Us
Does the word fat scare you? Do you cringe at the word fat and think you shouldn’t eat that because it will make you fat? Do you automatically look for low-fat or fat-free products while grocery shopping? If this sounds like you STOP!
The truth is we all need a certain amount of fat in our diet. Without it we would miss out on vital nutrients like vitamins A, D, E and K, which are fat-soluble, meaning they are better absorbed and utilized in the presence of fat. We also can’t forget about what are known as essential fatty acids (mainly omega-3 and omega-6) which are needed to prevent all kinds of aliments and conditions such as heart disease, cancer, immune system deficiencies, PMS, and menopausal symptoms. EFAs (essential fatty acids) can only be acquired through the foods we eat, which means we need to eat the foods that contain them, so our body can benefit from them.
Integrating fat in your diet does not mean succumbing more often to a big mac or bacon cheeseburgers. Omega-6 fats, also known as saturated fats are very common in the modern diet; they can be found in most vegetable oils and nut oils like corn, safflower, sesame, sunflower and almond as well as meats and dairy. Omega-3 fats, your unsaturated fats, are a bit more rare. Foods rich in omega-3 fats include walnuts, cold-water fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel and cod, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, olive oil, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil. Most people eat enough saturated fats (omega-6), but not enough unsaturated fats (omega-3). Saturated fats in excess are harmful (as is anything in excess), but our bodies still need it in smaller amounts. It gives our cellular membranes structure and stability. Saturated fat is not very susceptible to damage, and therefore provides awesome protection for your cells.
Basically, we should spend a little more on food. The body loves saturated fat, but from sources like grass-fed meat and butter, whole eggs and coconut fat- not pizza and hot dogs. Heart disease and obesity are caused by inactivity, trans fats, refined sugars and carbs and overeating, not from eating saturated and unsaturated fats.
Take a look at the ingredient list of that low-fat product next time you’re at the grocery store. Chances are it’s full of sugar or other horrible additives. Fat adds flavor, so when fat is removed, some other ingredient must replace it to boost flavor. That usually means sugar, artificial sweeteners or chemicals you can’t pronounce and don’t recognize.
And remember: fats provide the body with energy to drive activity. It makes up the majority of energy during a longer or more intense work out, aka a good HIIT class. It can also boost energy and aid recovery. Who wants to be able to walk normally to their next HIIT class? So, embrace that whole avocado, pour that olive oil over your salad and butter up your vegetables with grass-fed butter and enjoy every forkful because you deserve it and your body will thank you.