Fats have long been cast as evil and deadly, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. But no all fats are created equal. Your body really needs fats to survive, function, and thrive. Diets that restrict fat intake to lose weight can be dangerous to your health.
Eliminating fat from your diet to lose weight is harmful as certain beneficial fats are essential for your body to function properly.
For example, fats are critical for brain and nervous system function because the myelin (a sheath around nerve fibers that that electrical impulses are transmitted) is made of essential fatty acids.
Fats are also needed for producing hormones, blood clotting, skin and hair, as well as maintaining proper thyroid and adrenal function, and weight. Low fat diets that restrict fat to lose weight can actually slow down your metabolism as the body tries to hang onto calories and energy.
As a part of a healthy diet, these fats pack a nutritional punch by feeding your brain and your body, help you maintain a healthy weight, and keeping you feeling fuller longer.
- Flaxseeds or flax oil. Flax is a high source of one of the fatty acids the body does not synthesize on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids are not as readily absorbed as Omega-6 fatty acids, so getting more of this fat in your diet is necessary. Try flax oil in your homemade dressing and add flax seeds to your salad. A tablespoon or more of flaxseed in most baked goods increases this fat and fiber with little change to the end product. Add it to your smoothie, cereal, or oatmeal for a great way to start your morning.
- Walnuts are also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a rich source of heart-healthy monosaturated fats and l-arginine the amino acids. These awesome nuts also contain polyphenol antioxidants to prevent damage to cells. Try walnut oil in place of olive oil as a finishing oil because it doesn’t tolerate heat very well and can get bitter. Eating walnuts whole is the best way to obtain the antioxidants as they are mostly contained in the skin. Try adding them to salad, smoothies, parfaits, as well as in a granola mix for a snack.
- Avocados are a great source of a carotenoid, lutein, which protects your eyes from getting cataracts or macular degeneration. One of the reasons might be that carotenoids need fat to maximize absorption. Leafy greens and orange colored foods are high in carotenoids, but their absorption is greatly reduced without consuming them with a fat. Avocados are also high in fibre.
Good fats are as vital to a healthy body as protein and vitamins. The key is to balance these, as they are all necessary for healthy function.
If you’re struggling to lose weight and you’re not sure why, our Naturopathic Physician can help you discover the reason for your challenges. Whether you’re fed up that nothing is working, or just need some guidance, our clinic can get you on the right track. Contact us today for more information.