When we talked about fats in the 4380 Fitness Challenge nutrition night, one person asked me if she was eating too much fat. What she actually has found is that, for her, eating more fat actually helps with anxiety. This is a fantastic personal discovery! In the 6 daily diet tips I mention a goal of 6 tablespoons of healthy fat a day. This of course is a general guideline. I cannot tell you how much fat or carbs or protein is exactly right for you. Only you will be able to what is safe and healthy through individual professional guidance and even then, some trial and error.
Also, keep in mind your needs will change with age and season. We all need to eat for the season. When it is cold outside we need heartier, heavier meals. When it is hot and humid, we need light and refreshing sustenance to fuel us without weighing us down. Babes need higher fat as the brain is rapidly developing and different life situations demand different nutrients.
Time for an Oil Change?
Did you know that the human brain is nearly 60 percent fat? Getting the right fats in your diet is the most crucial way to boost your brain’s integrity and ability to perform. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required for optimal message conduction not only in the brain, but across every cellular membrane in the body.
More of these
If you are sensitive to a food like dairy or nuts, then you need to look at the other alternatives of healthy fats on the list.
- Fish oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive Oil
- Avocados & their oil
- Small amounts of real butter or ghee (clarified butter)
- Oils found in nuts in seeds
- Fats found naturally in whole dairy
- Fats found naturally in responsibly raised poultry & meat
Supplemental Fish oil (3rd party tested and cleansed of heavy metals):
- Reduces cholesterol:
- reduce triglyceride levels by 20% to 50%
- In those with coronary artery disease: Heart attacks reduced risk by 20% and sudden death by 30% (better than statins alone)
- Improves symptoms of depression and increase length of remission
- Reduces symptoms of psychosis, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
- Reduces inflammation and severity of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoporosis, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Behcet’s syndrome, and Raynaud’s syndrome
- Helpful in weight loss
- Reduces muscular soreness after exercise
Are saturated fats bad for you?
Yes and no. Too much of anything is not good for you. So, yes trim excess fat off your meat and avoid too much chicken skin, however, eating marbled meats and full fat dairy, coconut products and egg yolks will help incorporate calcium into the bones, protect the liver from damage by alcohol and medications like acetaminophen, has beneficial effects on cardiovascular function, deliver fat soluble vitamins.
Less of these
- Sunflower oil
- Canola oil
- Peanuts, and peanut oil
- Safflower Oil
Not all fats are created equal.
Industry seed oils are those made from the seeds of corn, cotton, sunflower, safflower or a hybrid called canola. A small amount of these oils is not an issue, as we do need some omega 6 fats in our diet. Problem is with the North American tendency to eat fast food, restaurant food, processed and packaged foods, we tend to get way too many of these and not enough omega 3 fats. This tips the scale towards inflammation. Industry seed oils are easily oxidized and oxidized fats is a leading contributor to modern inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers, non alcoholic fatty liver disease and fibromyalgia.
- Super heat vegetable oil (fried foods)
- Rancid oils
Trans fats that are manufactured by hydrolyzing an natural fat tends to do all the wrong things to cholesterol. Trans fats raise LDL and triglycerides and lower HDL. Not good.
Rancid oils, or fats that are past their shelf life will contribute to oxidative stress in your body. This means aging!
Anything eaten in excess can be converted and stored in the body as fat. That includes protein and carbohydrates. Did you know one of the main reasons for young people today being diagnosed with non alcoholic fatty liver is the excessive sugars in their diet?
Friendly Fat Facts
- Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) must be taken in the diet as they can not synthesized by the body. It is often necessary to supplement. Fish oil that is third party tested and cleansed of heavy metals in either a gel cap or, more economically, liquid, is best.
- Fats are required to help us absorb fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K)
- Healthy fats consumed earlier in the day (breakfast) will help curb afternoon cravings.
- Naturally occurring saturated fats that marble meat or as a part of dairy have benefits when consumed in moderation
- Breakfast: could include your dose of fish oil (EFA’s) and vitamin D, a handful of nuts, or simply a tablespoon of coconut oil in your cup of coffee.
- Lunch & Supper: Salad or vegetables could be complimented with either 2 TBSP of olive oil, 1/4 avocado or some omega-3 rich fish like sardines, salmon, herring. Even lamb or chicken – light or dark meat or strips of steak will help get the most out of all your nutrients.
From the research and mind of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.
Kresser, Chris. 2014. The Paleo Cure. Eat Right for Your Genes, Body Type, and Personal Health Needs — Prevent and Reverse Disease, Lose Weight Effortlessly, and Look and Feel Better than Ever. Little, Brown & Company. New York.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Fish Oil monograph accessed Dec 30, 2014. Full monograph available upon request.