Don’t Fear Healthy Fat!

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By Melanie Stewart

Of the 3 macro nutrients, Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat, which is the most likely to determine whether you have good or poor health? The answer is FAT. Low fat and no fat have made us all the more overweight because without fat we are hungry all the time and we crave sugar!  For weight loss, healthy fat is a critical component because it helps keep you satisfied longer and helps eliminate those pesky sugar cravings.

As a population, we eat less fat than we used to and yet we weigh more.  In part, this is because when manufacturers remove fat from food they typically increase the sugar content to make the food taste good.  Believing low fat and no fat options are “healthier” we tend to eat more of them. Even low calorie, low fat or no fat processed foods should be avoided as these have no nutritional value, often contain toxic additives and provide no benefits.

We’ve been led to believe that fat is dangerous and will clog up our arteries when, the truth is, healthy fat is not the culprit.  High quality fats, in their natural state, cannot cause arterial disease and the benefits of including them are numerous.

One super important benefit is the production of cholesterol and its role in the manufacturing of cell membranes.  Your body produces cholesterol out of whatever you eat but the preferred building material is healthy fats. High quality fats will net a high quality cholesterol while low quality fats will net a low quality cholesterol.  Given that every cell in your body has a membrane made with this waxy substance, this is pretty important stuff!

All cells wear out and are cast off, new cells grow, needing new membrane made with cholesterol.  When we have a rapid breakdown of cells (diseased arteries), our cholesterol goes up in response to the rebuilding. Erosion of your arteries is exacerbated by a high sugar diet and poor quality cholesterol that forms weak membranes.  Your body simply cannot build sound healthy tissue from foods that have been grossly altered or “processed.”

Essential Fatty Acids are known to make cell membranes more flexible and nerve transmission more efficient. This helps improve brain function and nervous system meyelin sheathing.  Healthy fats also insulate your organs, help to regulate your body temperature, carry fat-soluble vitamins through the bloodstream and are a building block for the production of estrogen, testosterone and other hormones.

Another important benefit is the regulation of insulin.  Healthy fats do not trigger insulin, which is actually a fat storage hormone, they help your body conserve protein and they slow the absorption of carbohydrates to balance blood sugar levels.  An additional bonus, cancer cells cannot metabolize healthy fat, only sugars.

Healthy fats include:  extra virgin olive oil, organic and unrefined coconut oil, coconut milk, olives, nuts (except peanuts) and seeds, nut butters, avocado, hummus, cold water fish, fortified eggs and organic butter from grass-fed cows.

So, include healthy fats,in limited measure at EVERY feast!

Melanie Stewart is a local Holistic Health Coach specializing in human digestion and the importance of eating REAL foods the RIGHT WAY. She is also an experienced educator, author, counselor/coach and public speaker.  You can find her on Facebook at Yum Tum Nutrition, yumtumnutrition.com or email at melanie@yumtumnutrition.com