Contrary to what some people believe, the idea that fat is bad for you and fat will make you fat are both common misconceptions. The truth is that your body needs fat to function. This macronutrient is a major source of energy and so much more. These essential fatty acids help keep you warm, they’re necessary for your body to absorb important nutrients, and they play a crucial role in some of your body’s everyday functions.
First, we need to clarify that not all fats are created equally. Keep in mind that there are many types of fat: saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and combinations of these. In addition, some fats are considered “bad” since they can potentially harm your health. One such example is trans fats, which are present in margarine and a variety of processed foods. These fats can raise your LDL levels, which can cause several health concerns.
Consuming sufficient amounts of healthy fats, however, is highly recommended and may help improve blood cholesterol levels and promote heart health.
Healthy Fats: Where to Find Them
- Plant-based oils like olive oil and sesame oil
- Nuts, such as peanuts and cashews
- Seeds, such as pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
- Fish oil
- Sunflower oil
- Nuts, like walnuts and pine nuts
Benefits of Healthy Fats
Healthy fats provide several benefits for your body and your brain.
- Support Optimal Cholesterol Levels
Studies show that healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish) are great for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Consuming these fats might help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
- Promote a Healthy Body Composition
Are you aiming to shed some of those unwanted pounds? Eating foods rich in healthy fats can help. Consuming sufficient amounts of healthy monounsaturated fats may promote fat loss. Thus, it’s considered an excellent diet alternative for people who find it hard to comply with the high-carb, low-fat (HCLF) diet.
- Support Healthy Inflammatory Pathways
If you’re familiar with the Mediterranean diet, you’ll know that it’s a diet rich in foods that contain high monounsaturated fatty acids. One study confirmed that adults who followed this diet have shown an improvement in healthy inflammation and coagulation markers. Healthy fats can help benefit inflammation pathways.
- Optimize Brain Function
Good fats like omega-3 fatty acids play an important part in brain development. There are also studies demonstrating their role in improving mood and their potential to help improve neurodegenerative mechanisms in the brain.
- Foster Liver Health
Polyunsaturated fatty acids may help decrease liver fat. One study involving 1,424 patients found that omega-3 supplementation can improve liver health.
- Strengthen Bones
You need more than just calcium for strong bones. A study done in Quebec, Canada confirmed a relationship between monounsaturated fat and bone strength consumption. The results show that eating foods that are rich in essential fatty acids can improve bone health.
- Promote Good Sleep
Did you know that foods rich in healthy fats, like almonds and other types of nuts, might help you sleep better? Consumption of essential fatty acids is known to have beneficial effects on the brain and may improve sleep. In fact, studies show that children who take daily omega-3 supplements experience fewer sleep disturbances compared to those who do not.
- Improve Skin
If you want to have healthy, glowing skin, then you must have plenty of healthy fats in your diet. Healthy skin requires essential fatty acids. This is because omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats cause the rise of eicosanoids, which affects your skin’s inflammatory response.
- Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
A few studies found that there may be a connection between polyunsaturated fat supplementation and blood sugar levels. Some studies indicate this healthy fat is essential in fostering glycemic control, helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels in people with insulin resistance.
If you have been participating in our weight loss program, then you know that healthy fats are the first foods we add back to your daily intake when on the maintenance phase. Don’t ever fall for the philosophy that fat makes you fat. Remember, fats can keep you healthy! (Don’t fear the fat!)