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Top 10 Reasons to Include Fat in Your Diet

by Laura Jones

The days of fat free are over. Halleluiah! We can have flavor and creamy texture and still be healthful. Many of us grew up believing fat free foods were healthy and were unaware of the MAJOR impact fats play in our bodies. Does this mean we can have our cake and eat it too? Not quite. This news does not give us license to eat as much fat as we like, but with some proper training, dietary fats can be a healthy and delicious addition to our every meal.

Are you one of those fat phobic people? Do you believe "low fat" equals health? Well be ready to experience a whole new level of health, often called holistic health, which is finally gaining the attention is so deserves. Don’t you hate to hear “I told you so” but in fact, holistic health nutritionists did! Statistics have demonstrated that since Americans have been cutting the fat out of our diets, we've actually gained more weight per capita as a nation.

Let’s get right into the top 10 and believe me, there’s more than 10 reasons why good dietary fats should rightfully take back their role in your diet.

#1. Quality fats support a healthy heart.

#2. Fats are important in slowing down digestion time, allowing you to feel full and more satiated.

#3. Improve your brain function. The brain is composed of 60% fat, so it is obviously affected by the fats that you eat.

#4. Fats are the main structure of your cells, so reduce dry and itchy skin from high quality fats.

#5 Reduce inflammation through stronger cell membranes. Fats are linked to making a cell membrane fluid and flexible and helping them to be fuller and juicier like a large fresh grape.

#6 Reduce the pain of arthritis.

#7. Protection from oxidation, therefore decreasing disease and accelerated aging.

#8. Healing mood disorders.

#9. Promotes healthy weight. Dietary fat, contrary to old beliefs is not the reason for our obesity epidemic today. Consuming fats actually improves metabolism, creates satiety, decreases cravings for fatty foods and sweets, and regulates blood sugar therefore regulating insulin levels.

#10 Benefits for babies. A woman in pregnancy may be able to reduce their baby’s risk of developing asthma if they consume fats.

So what is all this talk about “good fats” and “bad fats”? I will make the explanation very simple for you. In a nutshell; good fats are those found in nature and bad fats are those that are man made.

Good fats include extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, avocado, cold water fish, flax, sesame and walnut oils, and even the saturated fat of animals and coconut oil. Saturated fats have shown benefits of aiding calcium absorption, are antibacterial, enhance the immune system and contribute to the full healthy grape like image of the cell.

I’m sure you can guess what is included in the list of bad fats. A few of them include Crisco, margarine, ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ substitutes, miracle whip or any product with altered fats (hydrogenated and trans fats). In animal studies, the intake of these oils promoted cancer even more readily than saturated fats do. Another source of bad fats to stay away from is farm raised fish and beef fed unnatural foods. Always opt for free range, grass fed wild animals.

Saturated fats are not the culprits to our high cholesterol and heart disease. With a balanced diet of reduced, refined carbohydrates, and adding appropriate fats, many find they have improved cholesterol levels.

This may seem confusing. Below are a few tips for choosing the right fats. When supplementing with fish oil, which I highly recommend, as today’s modern diets are often deficient of a quality fish or fish oil, choose an omega-3 formula that contains a concentrated ratio of 300mg of EPA to 200 mg of DHA. Opt for Extra virgin first pressed, and cold pressed olive oil, which is a natural anti-inflammatory, over salad dressings which often contain trans fats. Flax oil, which must be kept in the fridge is also helpful in reducing cholesterol, hot flashes, joint pain and even enhances estrogen metabolism and reduces risk of cancer. It can be blending into smoothies or salad dressings.

It may take some time to get over the myth that fat is bad and unhealthful to our diet, but rest assured that opting for the high quality fats listed above, your are doing your body, inside and out a beneficial thing.

About the Nutritionist

Laura Jones is a Functional Nutrition Consultant with a Nutrition degree from Simmons College and working towards a Doctor of Natural Health (DNH). Laura combines nutritional counseling with an interest in the mind-body connection. She believes that illness is a reaction to a toxic and stressful lifestyle and the beauty of natural medicine is giving the client the authority of their health and ideally having them heal on a profound level. laurajones4@yahoo.com or www.nutritionbylaura.com

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