Gone are the days of fat phobia where we were told that losing weight required everything to be low fat or fat free and where nobody would ever dream of eating fat intentionally.
But that old way of thinking has been proven wrong time and time again as we learn about the important role that fat plays in keeping us healthy and in helping us to lose weight.
Here are 6 of the most important reasons to consume regular quantities of healthy fat in your diet:
Essential fatty acids are broken down in the body and go on to make prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are short-lived compounds, which act like hormones within the body. One important class of prostaglandins are those that fight inflammation, and essential fatty acids are the main means of creating these anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Failure to consume enough EFAs means the body will not make these prostaglandins, or it will instead use the minimal EFAs to make prostaglandins that promote instead of inhibit inflammation. Fatty fish is one of the best and most usable sources of EFAs when it comes to creating prostaglandins.
Aid in digestion
The digestive tract, and in particular, the large intestine, is covered in a thick layer of mucus. This mucus acts as a protective layer for the organ, but also acts as a lubricant to help move digested food through the digestive system so it can be eliminated. Certain foods (or lack of certain foods), allergies, and compensated immune system function can lead to low levels of mucus, causing poor digestion, cramps, bloating and constipation. Consuming fatty acids is a great way to support this lubrication and offers a great back up to low levels of mucus, ensuring proper digestion and elimination of food.
Help fill you up so you can lose weight
Fats take longer to digest and break down once in the digestive system, meaning they leave you satisfied for longer. This translates to you eating less and having more success in your weight loss goals. This is especially true if you consume your source of essential fatty acids with a complex carbohydrate, protein and lots of fiber. Together, these things make your digestive system work for longer and allow for a more gradual release of energy into your bloodstream, filling you up and not sending you crashing two hours later or just craving sugary treats.
Improve brain function
One of the single-handedly most important reasons to consume adequate levels of EFAs are because they are essential for healthy brain function. Our brain is insulated in fat, and this insulation is what allows our brain to be protected, as well as to send and receive signals to the rest of the body. Furthermore, these EFAs are actually used to build certain hormones and signaling pathways within the body, and much of this building material comes from the consumption of EFAs in our diet. Check out 5 foods to feed your brain!
Boost the immune system
Essential Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fats and the cells of the immune system are high in this type of fat. Consuming adequate EFAs means the body will be able to rebuild and support immune cells, critical for a healthy functioning immune system and the body’s ability to fight off disease, heal illness and injury and maintain important bodily processed like digestion and fluid balance.
Help with blood sugar regulation
Essential fatty acids are required to help make cell membranes (the case for the cell) fluid and mobile, and be able to move around with ease. When the cells become too rigid, certain cell receptors, which send signals to the body, become in accessible. This is the case for insulin: the insulin receptor’s function is impaired in rigid cells and therefore the insulin doesn’t act to enter the cell and help lower blood sugar. This can translate to chronically high blood sugar levels, leading to hyperglycemia, overeating and potentially diabetes.