December 27, 2011

The Dirty F-Word.

Kate Leinweber, B.Sc R.H.N


Fat has a poor reputation. We hear a lot about how bad it is for us, but what about how fat is good for us? After all, every living thing has fat in their bodies. There must be a reason for it, right?

Fats are elaborate, complex, and function with in varied ways under different circumstances. Natural fats play many important roles in keeping us healthy. The Key? Quality in Moderation. Eat the good fats, and be discerning with the bad ones.

Here are 3 great reasons to embrace the F-word in your life:

1. Skin

Essential fats moisturize the skin and protect it from external elements. They keep our skin plump and youthful. A little bit of fat in the face can help delay the onset of fine lines. Vitamins A and E, found primarily in (saturated?) fat, are important anti-oxidants that protect our skin. Omega-3s from fish and flax seeds are anti-inflammatories which can help eczema sufferers.

2. Hormones

Hormones are made from fats. Good fats and the fat-soluble vitamins rule our hormonal cycles. Without them we cannot produce the sex hormones needed to support libido, fertility or the transition of menopause. Traditional cultures around the world consider fatty foods like fish roe, cod liver, and butter to be sacred, and use fats to promote fertility and ease menopause.

3. Weight Loss

Eat fat to lose fat! If you are carb-loading instead of eating fat, beware! Unnecessary carbohydrates will be converted to fat by your liver and stored in the body (particularly around the midline and hips!). The body does not have an on-off switch when it comes to eating carbs, but has a strong satiation signal for fat. Consuming fat will let your body know it’s full long before carbohydrates will. In addition, coconut oil, a saturated fat, is thermogenic, which means that it increases body temperature and metabolism. Want to help shed those extra holiday pounds? Add some coconut oil to your diet!

Fat Sources:

The Good: nuts & seeds, wild fish, coconut, cod liver oil, avocados, olives, grass-fed dairy and meat products.

The Bad: cooking or baking with vegetable oils (except grapeseed or olive), packaged foods.

The Ugly: trans fats, hydrogenated oils, margarine, and deep-fried foods.

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