Most people, especially women, look at me like I have two heads when I tell them they need to eat more fat. We've been led to believe that fats (like carbohydrates) are bad and some of them are. The problem is, we can’t live without the good fats. Simply swearing off fat doesn't solve health problems, it often creates them. The key is knowing which fats are good and which are bad so you can eat accordingly.
This week as part of my 52 Weeks of Wellness Program we are focusing on learning about good fats. Most have heard of essential fatty acids (EFAs) but don't really understand how crucial they are to the body.
The body relies on diet to fulfill it's need for EFAs
The two essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6. Essential means the body can’t produce these on it’s own, we need to obtain them from food. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are responsible for making prostaglandins, a hormone-like substances which regulates pain, swelling and inflammation.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 are also:
- A concentrated source of energy
- Key to a healthy brain, heart, and nerve tissues
- Important for healthy skin, nails, hair, and bones
- Natural blood thinners
- Essential for cell growth, division, and repair (aka healing)
- How you Improve blood cholesterol levels
Without our essential fatty acids healing cannot properly happen, our body’s natural responses are impacted and our energy takes a nose dive. Furthermore, the long term impact of deficiencies in essential fatty acids is just as bad as eating a diet full of all the bad fats.
A lack of essential fatty acids can result in:
- degenerative disorders
- cardiovascular disease
- chronic fatigue
- compromised immunity
- kidney failure
- rheumatoid arthritis
- eating disorders
- decreased libido
- various cancers
The good news is deficiencies in essential fatty acids can be remedied and prevented in the future.
As far as fats go...
Knowledge of good vs. bad and moderation is key.
Week 9 action step: Evaluate your current eating habits. Before we can look for the good fats we must be able to identify all fat containing foods.
Look back at your food journal that was started a few weeks ago and assess your intake of fats. Highlight all the potential fat containing foods and share a few of them with us in the comments below.
Next we will dive in to identifying good and bad fats in our foods.