Fat Makes You Beautiful

Fat Makes You Beautiful

 

Fat is a complex issue. It is feared, hated, discriminated against, poked, prodded and laughed at. Yet fat, especially essential fatty acids, are vital for healthy skin, hair, eye sight, hormones, cognition, nerves, hydration, the heart and healthy genes.

Essential fatty acids are fats that the body cannot make itself and need to be obtained through the foods we eat.

A lack of essential fats can result in: excess thirst and never feeling hydrated, dry & itchy skin, eczema, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, PMT, dyslexia and other learning difficulties, heart problems (such as high blood pressure or cholesterol), Alzheimer’s and arthritis.

 

Essential fats are: omega 3 (alpha linolenic acid) found in oily fish, flax seeds, walnuts and hemp seeds and omega 6 (linoleic acid) found in nuts, eggs, hemp seeds, cold-pressed sunflower, rapeseed and safflower oil, wheat germ and evening primrose oil.

In the average western diet, omega 6 foods (especially refined omega 6 foods) are mountain high, while omega 3 foods barely get a look in. This imbalance results in all sorts of ailments, discomforts and diseases. In fact, most symptoms of essential fat deficiency are due to a lack of omega 3 as opposed to a lack of omega 6.

For daily eating, aim for equal amount of omega 3 and omega 6 foods – and you’ll be smiling.

Other fats also have their benefits:

Saturated fat is needed for hormones, strong bones, immunity and correct utilisation of essential fatty acids. It is also anti-viral, anti-microbial and - believe it or not –saturated fat promotes healthy (HDL) cholesterol and is the preferred fuel for the heart.  The body can make most of the saturated fat it needs, so you only need to eat a small amount. Eating too much is not a good idea.

Snowsfields recommends organic butter and organic, cold pressed coconut oil. 

Omega 9 – found in olives, olive oil, avocados, rapeseed and borage oil is a monounsaturated fat. It is not an essential fat as the body can produce it in small amounts if there is sufficient omega 3 and 6 in the diet. Omega 9 helps protect the heart, reduces insulin resistance and boosts the immune system.

 

The Fat to Forgo

Trans fatty acids (or trans fats) are made by hydrogenating vegetable oils. They are found mostly in margarines, commercial cakes & biscuits, crisps and fast food. It is thought that trans fats interfere with how the beneficial omega 3 is used in the body. Trans fats have been linked with artery damage and an increased risk of heart disease.  An easy way to avoid trans fats is to never buy a product made from hydrogenated oil and to cook and bake with butter, olive or coconut oil. 

 

References:

German, J. and Dillard, C., Saturated Fats: What dietary Intake?, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 3, 550-559, September 2004

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