Nutrition tip for the week: Eat your FATS!
Not all fats are bad fats – you just need to know the difference between the fats that you need, and the fats that you don’t.
Fats are one of the most important things in your diet, but it’s important that you consume the right kind of fat. Which means, no quarter pounder’s with cheese 😉
Why Fats are Good For You
- Fats provide energy – each gram of fat provides nine calories of energy for the body, compared with four calories per gram of carbohydrates and proteins.
- Fats build healthy cells – they are a vital part of the membrane that surrounds each cell of the body. Without a healthy cell membrane, the rest of the cell couldn’t function.
- Fats build brains – they provide the structural components not only of cell membranes in the brain, but also of myelin, enabling it to carry messages faster.
- Fats help the body use vitamins – vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins, meaning that the fat in foods helps the intestines absorb these vitamins into the body.
- Fats make hormones – fats are structural components of some of the most important substances in the body, including prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that regulate many of the body’s functions.
- Fat provides healthier skin – one of the more obvious signs of fatty acid deficiency is dry, flaky skin. In addition to giving skin its rounded appeal, the layer of fat just beneath the skin (called subcutaneous fat) acts as the body’s own insulation to help regulate body temperature. Lean people tend to be more sensitive to cold; obese people tend to be more sensitive to warm weather.
- Fat forms a protective cushion for your organs – many of the vital organs, especially the kidneys, heart, and intestines are cushioned by fat that helps protect them from injury and hold them in place. (True, some of us “overprotect” our bodies.) As a tribute to the body’s own protective wisdom, this protective fat is the last to be used up when the body’s energy reserves are being tapped into.
Check out the full list by visiting Ask Dr. Sears
Choosing the Right Fat
As mentioned above not all fat is good for you – so it’s important that you choose the right fat. I recommend that you try incorporating unrefined oil, like olive oil or flax oil (which should be kept in fridge and is great in smoothies) into your regular diet.
Some other healthy fat options include:
- Coconut oil – use for sautéing/baking or to make your homemade yam fries in the oven 🙂
- Salmon – an excellent source of Omega 3 fats that are essential for overall health, brain function and weight loss. Eat wild sustainable fish 2-3 times per week. Look for the Oceanwise symbol or learn more about Oceanwise at: www.oceanwise.ca
- Avocado – natures wonder food, avocados are full of healthy fat and nutrients such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C, fibre, potassium, magnesium and B Vitamins. Try smashing an avocado on a good piece of whole grain bread and top with sea salt and hot sauce or balsamic vinegar for a quick and easy meal! I eat this for dinner at least once a week, and my kids love it too.
Whatever healthy fats you choose to consume, make sure that you add them to your regular diet. I assure you, you will notice a difference. Also when buying your oils, make sure that you purchase a good quality product. When purchasing olive oil for example, look for brands that are sold in dark glass bottles. Light and heat destroy the healthy enzymes within the oil, so it is important that you buy your oil in dark bottles.