There have been hundreds of diet fads that have drifted in out of favour in recent years. One of the main controversies that has hit the press lately had been circulating around the idea of fats in our daily intake. We are all too familiar with the myths: Fat makes us fat! It contributes to increase in risk of heart diseases and leads to obesity.
In reality, these facts can be misleading.
Fat is essentially our body’s most basic building blocks of life. An average person is made up of 15 to about 30% of fats. Dietary fats are essential for health and it is important to add more of the right kind of fat into your diet and to know which types of fats to avoid.
Burning healthy fats for fuel is crucial for optimal brain function. Omega 3 fats in particular are essential and can be found in small cold-water fishes like wild caught salmon, sardines and herring, brazil nuts, walnuts as well as in hemp seed oils. Another great option is krill oil supplements. The phospholipids attached to the omega 3s in krill oil aids in absorption so that you do not need a large amount and it has 50 times more antioxidants known as astaxanthin which prevents oxidation of the omega 3.
These good fats help our body to produce prostaglandins to help decrease inflammation. In modern times, we tend to consume more of processes and refined oils made from plants and this greatly increases our levels of polyunsaturated omega 6 fats; which greatly increases inflammation in the body. Keep in mind that the ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is 1:1
Other good sources of fats include coconut oil which have been shown to decrease triglyceride levels, avocados, grass-fed butter and extra-virgin olive oils. Studies have shown that good quality fat is able to boost cognition, happiness, learning and memory capabilities. Health fats also help us absorb important fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A,D,E and K.
Fats that should be avoided includes trans fat that is usually found in processed fats like margarine, cakes, biscuits and after heating plant oils to high temperature; especially sunflower oils. Remember to consume saturated fats with moderation and try to avoid refined carbohydrates or sugar as well.