Is Fat Good For You?
9 Reasons We Should Be Eating More Fat
In the not so-distant past, the majority of medical establishments considered all fats equally bad for you. Since then a lot has changed, with the announcement that fats can not only be good for you, but can play a very important role in your health. With Sweden taking this a step further and adopting a low-carb, high fat approach to nutrition.
If you, like many others, are paranoid about consuming fat, this article will give you a greater understanding and knowledge of the importance that regular fat intake plays in a healthy diet.
- Stronger Bones
Claims from One of the foremost research experts in dietary fats and human health, Dr. Many Enig PhD., claims there is definitely a strong case to be made about consuming as much as 50% of the fats in your diet as saturated fats for calcium to be effectively absorbed into your bones.
That’s significantly higher than the 7-10% recommended by mainstream institutions, which may have significant links with the vast majority of women who when told to avoid saturated fat began to lose bone mass. It may also have the potential to cause develop osteoporosis.
- Improve Cardiovascular Risk Factors
Fat can play a key role in cardiovascular health, with the addition of saturated fat to the diet known to reduce the levels of a substance called lipoprotein (a) which can’t be lowered through the use of medication and has a strong correlation with the risk of heart disease. Research also indicates that eating certain fats raise the levels of HDL – the so called good cholesterol and has shown that those eating the greatest percentage of total fats in their diet as saturated fat tend to lose the most weight.
- Improve Liver Health
Adding certain fats to your diet have been shown to encourage the liver cells to dump their fat content, which is a critical first step to calling a halt to middle-body fat storage. Additionally, the liver acts as the bodies filter and many fats have been shown to protect the liver from the toxic nature of alcohol and medications. So since the liver is a crucial aspect of a healthy metabolism, anything that is good for the liver is also good for ridding fat and toxins from the body.
- Cholesterol Balance
The role cholesterol plays in our body is widely misunderstood due to a sea of misinformation; but as evidenced by the eating habits of many traditional cultures from around the globe there is a discerned link between common fats and healthy cholesterol levels. Low blood cholesterol levels have proven to be associated with:
- Higher risk of mortality
- Higher risk of depression
- Higher risk of committing a violent crime or suicide
- Higher risk of Dementia & Alzheimer’s disease
One area of serious confusion is the difference between ‘bad cholesterol’ (LDL) and ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL). We know high levels of ‘HDL’ are beneficial and that there are subtypes of ‘LDL’ with the large, fluffy particles being benign and small dense particles showing a direct correlation to heart disease. Sources of fats (like animal fats and coconut oil) are able to change the dense LDL to fluffy LDL and also raise HDL cholesterol levels, both of which are health protective factors.
- Healthier Lungs
For the lungs to operate effectively, the airspaces of the lungs have to be coated with a thin layer of lung surfactant. The fat content of lung surfactant is 100% saturated fatty acids, and failure to replace these critical fats can potentially cause breathing difficulties. Absence of the correct amount and composition of fats can also lead to the collapse of airspaces and respiratory distress. Many researchers believe the wholesale substitution of partially hydrogenated trans fats for natural saturated fat in commercially prepared foods may be playing a role in the rising rates of asthma among children.
- Healthy Brain
You may be shocked to learn that the brain is primarily made up of fatty acids. This means your diet can have a direct effect on the brains functionality and influence your mood and behaviour. This means that fatty acids found in cold water fish and some saturated fats are essential for providing normal brain and nerve function; whereas a diet that has little or no fats, runs the risk of robbing the brain of the raw materials it requires to perform optimally.
- Blood Sugar Balance
When we eat large quantities of carbohydrates, it is recommended to accompany it with a quality source of fat. This is because fat slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing extreme sugar highs and sugar crashes whilst also keeping us full for longer. This is even more crucial now as food producers have increased sugar content and began reduced fat in food which eliminated moisture and flavour. This increase in sugar and decrease in use of fats is bad news for the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, which could be one of the reasons behind the epidemic of people diagnosed with diabetes.
- Stronger Immune System
Important saturated fats found in nutmeg butter and coconut oil (myristic acid & lauric acid) play a crucial role in immune health. Loss of these important saturated fatty acids in white blood cells can seriously hamper their ability to identify and destroy foreign viruses, bacteria and fungi. One rich source of these essential fatty acids is breast milk, which has potent germ-killing abilities but the importance of these fats live on beyond infancy. Our bodies continue to require dietary replenishment of them throughout our development and into old age as they allow our immune system to remain vigilant against the development of infectious invaders, one of which is cancerous cells.
- Hormone Balance Requires Fat
The consumption of cholesterol rich fats provides the building blocks for many hormones, including testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone. Without enough dietary fatty acids, women may become deficient in progesterone, whilst men might find low fat diets translate to low levels of testosterone. Low fat diets can also significantly undermine balanced hormones by preventing the detox of excess hormones, particularly oestrogen. When your body has an excess amount of oestrogen, it becomes packaged into the bile so it can be excreted with food waste. If bile not being released effectively, then oestrogen can build up in the liver and gallbladder which may cause it to be recirculated in the body.
Modern lifestyles lead to oestrogen dominance for many men and women, with added stress and poor diets increasing oestrogen synthesis and reducing the body’s ability to detox old hormones. For women, this build-up of oestrogen may mean PMS and menopausal symptoms whilst men may experience erectile dysfunction or the development of ‘man boobs’.