Did you know your brain is about 60% fat? That your hormones are made from fat? 60% of your heart’s energy comes from burning fats. Your lungs need fat to work and keep them from collapsing. Fats help you absorb certain nutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
I know there’s all this confusing information out there about what’s healthy to eat and what isn’t. One myth out there is that fat is bad. Low fat and non-fat products became all the rage in the 90s, but not all fats are created equal.
Monounsaturated fats are the healthy kind. The best example is olive oil, but don’t cook with it. High temperatures change the chemical make up of olive oil, which can make it carcinogenic (cancer causing). For cooking, I’d recommend refined coconut, safflower and non-GMO canola oils.
Great sources for healthy fat: nuts, seeds, and avocado. I suggest adding flax or coconut oil, plus some almond butter and hemp seeds to your morning smoothie.
Signs that you might not be getting enough of the good stuff
* Lack of mental clarity upon awakening
* Weight gain
* Brittle Fingernails
* Poor Sleep
* Poor Memory
* Dry hair & skin
* Lack of Concentration
You might have heard of Omega 3, 6, and 9 Essential Fatty Acids, but aren’t really sure what they do. EFAs can reduce risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and many other degenerative illnesses. Sources for Omega 3s: seaweeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, borage oil, and primrose oil. Yes, some fish are a great source of EFAs, but almost all fish have dangerously high levels of mercury in them. Fish get their omegas from eating seaweed. So why not eat the original, safer source instead?
Definitely stay away from trans fats/hydrogenated oils: These fats form when vegetable oil hardens, a process called hydrogenation, and can raise LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, and lower HDL (good cholesterol) levels, repeatedly linked to heart disease. These fatty acids can also cause major clogging of your arteries, type 2 diabetes, obesity and other serious health problems. For the men reading this, trans fats also reduce sexual performance. They’re found in most processed foods, fast food, crackers, and cookies.
You should also minimize most saturated fats, which are found in animal products such as butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, cream and meats. They are also found in some tropical plants and vegetable oils such as coconut, palm and palm kernel. Coconut oil is actually really healthy and is the oil to use for cooking since it is far less likely to be damaged through heating.
I know a lot of you reading this are probably thinking, “I’m young, I don’t need to worry about this kind of stuff until I’m in my 40s or 50s.” I hate to break it to you, but that’s not really the case. More people are overweight and becoming diabetic at a younger age than ever before. I recently saw a patient who had his first heart attack at 35 years old. He grew up eating a typical American diet and rarely exercised since college. The hardening of his arteries started in his 20s. Once that damage is done, it’s really hard to heal. I don’t want to scare you. Hopefully, it will motivate you to make smarter food choices from now on.
So when you’re eating on the run, grab some walnuts instead of pizza. Your body and your brain will thank.
Live natural. Live well.