Fats are still being touted as the enemy by many weight-loss programs, but the problem is – without good fats, you cannot lose weight, achieve glowing skin, healthy hair, or long healthy fingernails.
When we eat good fats we encourage muscle tissue, regulate our metabolism, support our reproductive health, fight depression, and improve our mental health. Good fats are also needed to increase the strength of our bones and bolster our immune system, and keep our cells turning over full and plump and perfectly formed.
Also – our brain is fuelled by fat – we literally can’t think as clearly without it.
Our bodies also require fat for long-term energy. Fats support the function of our thyroid which keeps our hormones in balance by producing cholesterol, which is extremely critical for healthy hormone production.
Our hormones are important for all levels of our wellbeing – from fertility, skin health, energy to weight management.
Fat is one of the building blocks in the blocks needed for healthy skin and collagen. It protects the skin cells from sun-damage and hydrates the outer lipid layer of our skin to keep it looking young and youthful.
When fats protect the outer lipid layer of the skin (the acid mantle) eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and dermatitis heal faster – flare ups are less common – and definitely not as inflamed.
This is one reason using oils on the skin such as the Everything Skin Oil is so effective at keeping the skin looking amazing because the oils in this product are all healthy fats!
When we eat good plant fats we take in linoleic and linolenic acid – these essential fatty acids (EFAs) are fats the body is unable to produce on its own.
We need these EFAs in order for our joints to remain fluid and for all of the tissues in our bodies to function normally, including our heart.
Fat allows us to absorb minerals and important nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K properly. The composition of our blood and our body temperature depend on fat to stay balanced and on keel.
When we consume healthy fats with our meal it can assist in bolstering weight loss by keeping us feeling full for longer.
But which fats are good for us? It seems to be that it depends on what fad diet you are reading!
So let me help you by explaining them to you – I must admit, I was terribly confused for years myself.
Saturated fats have been the target of a massive smear campaign since the 1950s. It was denounced for clogging our arteries, negatively impacting our cholesterol, and causing us to develop heart disease.
While there is some truth to this because there are saturated fats which do contribute to these problematic conditions – other saturated fats improve the health and beauty of our skin, lubricate our joints, keep our moods stable, contribute to the health of our bones, plus they make up 50% of our cell membranes.
Scientifically speaking, when a fatty acid has all of its available carbon bonds connected to hydrogen atoms, they pack together tightly and become very stable.
Because of this, saturated fats don’t go rancid easily and they become solid or semisolid at room temperature.
It is important to understand that good saturated fats such as coconut oil may raise our LDL (bad cholesterol) but they also raise our good cholesterol – HDL – and the ratio of the two to each other is a much stronger predictor of heart disease and cardiovascular problems than anything else.
Bad sources of saturated fats are – commercially raised red meat and dairy products along with commercially baked goods. These raise your LDL (bad cholesterol) and should be avoided at all costs.
If you must eat meat or dairy – choose small organic suppliers who farm their animals with care, or eat ethically wild killed meat. When choosing dairy choose pot set yoghurt and organic small, batched butter.
Coconut oil is critical for body functions unlike the bad fats mentioned before.
These fats lack two hydrogen atoms in comparison to saturated fats. This means they don’t pack together as tightly, so are not as stable. They tend to turn liquid at room temperature.
Olive oil is a prime and very delicious polyphenol filled example of monosaturated fat.
Olive oil is best consumed when poured over our food. When it is used for cooking – because of the high heat – it turns rancid and becomes a unhealthy fat.
Other healthy monosaturated fats are almonds, avocados, cashews, olives, pecans, durian and stone crushed oils of these.
This type of fat lacks four or more hydrogen atoms making it highly unstable and prone to high rancidity. Our ancestors used to eat high amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fats in the forms of lard, tallow, butter, and olive oil. The rate of heart disease was almost non-existent then.
Fast forward to today and almost 30 percent of calories in the average Australian and American diet come from processed polyunsaturated fats such as vegetable oil derived from soy or corn, safflower and or canola oil and heart disease is rampant.
Polyunsaturated oils oxidize quickly when exposed to heat, oxygen and moisture which usually occurs during processing – but can also happen while sitting on the grocery store shelf or when cooked in food. Once they go rancid, polyunsaturated oils contain free radicals. Each and every time we eat these radical filled oils we increase our risk of liver damage, digestive problems, immune system dysfunction and reproductive damage.
Not only that but we are subjecting ourselves to DNA/RNA strand damage, impairing our brain function, causing wrinkles and premature ageing of our skin, damaging our tissues, organs and blood vessels and sparking weight gain.
To make matters worse, post polyunsaturated oils contain a very high level of omega-6 fatty acids and very few omega-3 fatty acids.
It is extremely important to keep these omegas in balance – when we consume too much omega-6’s in our food, we mess with our prostaglandin production. This can cause blog clots, high blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain and decreased immune system functions.
Just to confuse you – there are some polyunsaturated fat sources which are extremely beneficial to our overall health.
They are borage seed oil, chia seeds, hemp seed oil, hemp seeds, flax, flaxseed oil, primrose oil and walnuts.
(note: it is extremely important to keep these oils in dark containers out of direct sunshine, and only use cold pressed – not heat extracted).
Hydrogenated oils are free radical -filled, polyunsaturated fats that should be liquid at room temperature, but go through a chemical process to alter their form.
Tiny metal shards are added to the oil, along with starch and soap-like emulsifiers. The mixture is then steam cleaned, with dye and flavour added.
We then end up with compressed blocks of margarine and shortenings.
The way the hydrogen atom moves during this process – straightens out the molecule, and this becomes a trans-fat.
Trans-fats are 100% toxic to us, but unfortunately the body doesn’t recognise them as such. The cells take them in as if they were properly constructed saturated fats and incorporate them into the cell membranes. These Frankenstein fats disturb the chemical processes of the cell going forward, leading high cholesterol, cardiovascular difficulties, and other long-term health issues.
Trans fats are even worse for you than regular rancid polyunsaturated oil. Replace them with extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.
Ensure you add healthy fats such as Flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil into your diet daily – ideally with every meal.
The best way to achieve this is to ensure that your morning smoothie contains a tablespoon of oil of choice, then add oil as your salad dressing at lunch. I love aioli – it goes on everything – so I mix it with a tablespoon of olive oil or which ever oil I am in the mood for and add it to my vegetables or salad. Instead of butter on your vegetables at night – add one of the healthy oils instead with a bit of Himalayan salt – yum!
If you need a little more help with your skin diet – book a glowing skin consultation with me!