5 Amazing Benefits of Eating More Fat
With a plethora of varying dietary advice out there, it’s becoming increasing difficult to know what food decisions to make these days.
Let’s take fat for example. Fat has gotten a bad rap for the past few years and has been known to be a root cause for high cholesterol levels, obesity and heart disease. However, newer studies show that totally nixing fat from your diet may actually be detrimental to health and there are several benefits associated with eating more fat.
Fat’s role in our bodies
Fat is a major source of energy. It’s required for the construction of cell membranes – the critical exterior of every cell and the sheaths that surround your nerves. In addition, it is vital for mineral and vitamin absorption, blood clotting, inflammation and muscle movement.
Note that in the long-term, some fats are better than others. Some sources of healthy fats that you can incorporate more of in your diet, include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Examples of such foods include avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds and fish such as salmon and tuna. There’s a lot of debate on saturated fats these days but many believe it falls somewhere in between good fats and bad fats, suggesting that you should consume it in moderation. Sources of saturated fats include red meat, ghee, butter and other dairy products.
In short, fat is not the evil monster most people thought it would be. In fact, it has some surprising health benefits, some of which include:
1. Fat is needed for brain health
The brain is made up of about 60% fat. Sticking to a fat-free or low-fat diet could deprive the brain of vital materials that are needed for it to function optimally.
Vitamins A, D, E and K, are not water soluble vitamins and thus, require fat for their transport across the body. These vitamins are vital for brain health and the functioning of many other organs in the body.
Omega 3 fatty acids, found in avocado, olive oil and fish, are critical for long-term cognitive health. Studies show that eating foods rich in omega 3s may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
2. Fat elevates your mood
A diet lacking in fat can cause severe mood swings, and even depression and anxiety. This is mainly because a low fat diet can cause a deficiency of cholesterol in the brain, thereby tampering with the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin.
If you’re battling with constant mood swings, stress, and lethargy and feel your lack of of consumption of fat maybe the cause, try upping your levels of DHA and omega 3 fatty acids via fish oil supplements and regular intake of salmon, tuna, nuts and seeds, avocado and eggs.
3. Fat is essential for your immune system
Saturated fats found in coconut oil, ghee and butter may play a major role in immune system health. Lack of saturated fatty acids in white blood cells could inhibit their ability to recognize and annihilate foreign invaders, such as harmful viruses, bacteria and other microbes in the body.
4. Your lungs need fat to function properly
Your lungs are surrounded with a substance which is primarily made of saturated fat. Insufficient saturated fat in the diet can lead to poor lung health. In fact, studies are also looking into the link between asthma and low saturated fat consumption resulting from the breakdown of the fatty layer coating the lungs.
5. Fat improves skin health
Your skin is the largest organ of your body and because your cells’ cellular membranes are largely composed of fat, we can establish that fat is critical for proper skin health.
Not including enough fat in your diet can cause skin to get dry and dull, resulting in chapped and cracked skin. This opens pathways for infections in your body, resulting in a whole different scenario of ailments –other than just bad skin.
The solution: Up your intake of foods that not only contain healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, but also other skin-supporting nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals. Some great sources include avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, salmon, eggs and plenty of nuts and seeds.