There are many misconceptions and myths when it comes to what we humans need to be consuming to achieve optimal health and live long, fulfilling lives.
One of the biggest food myths is that we need to avoid the consumption of fat, as it contributes to heart disease and many other health problems. Quality fats are one of the best things that we can consume to achieve and maintain health.
If you’ve ever gone grocery shopping (I think most of us have!), you’ve probably noticed products labeled as being “low fat” or “fat free”. At what point in history did we decide we need to remove fat from our foods?
It started back in the 1960’s when research done showed a relationship between dietary fat intake and heart disease incidence. However, the research excluded many important variables, which led to a misleading conclusion. Since this one study, the predominant advice was to cut out fats to have a happy heart and avoid disease, ignoring the considerable evidence showing how fat is absolutely necessary to nourish the body. Here are five reasons to include healthy fats in your diet everyday.
1. Quality Fats Support Your Nervous System
Every cell in the human body is composed of lipids (fats). Eating healthy fat supports and fortifies every cell in your body, preventing things like chapped lips and dry skin and nourishing the lining of the internal organ systems. The human nervous system is also composed primarily of fat and requires healthy fats to function optimally.
2. Quality Fats Help You Lose Weight
You’ve probably been told just the opposite – that you need to cut out fats to lose weight. This is a false notion. Fat assists your body in burning fat and helps you stay full and avoid cravings.
3. Quality Fats Help Balance Hormones
Hormones have many important functions in your body, from regulating your mood to assisting your body in building muscle and burning fat. Hormones are made from fat. Without adequate fat intake, hormonal imbalance, and consequentially, things like mood swings, weight gain, and depression can begin to occur.
4. Your Body NEEDS Cholesterol
Another common misconception you’ve probably heard is that cholesterol causes heart disease. Cholesterol is a powerful healing fat the body uses to repair inflamed and damaged cells, including blood vessels. When there is chronic damage to the tissues in the body, cholesterol is one of the body’s tools to repair it. Also, the brain is composed of roughly 25% cholesterol, and it serves many important functions for the nervous system.
5. Quality Fats Aid in Immunity and Digestion
Quality fat helps feed the good bacteria in your digestive tract, creating a healthier gut. This helps you absorb nutrients and digest food more easily. It also helps build a strong immune system since the gut is one of your body’s primary defenses against harmful external invaders.
What should you eat to get quality fats? High-quality animal fats are best, including egg yolks from pastured hens, raw butter, raw milk, tallow, raw cheese, wild-caught salmon, grass-fed animal meats, and full-fat kefir and yogurt, just to name a few. Ideally, all dairy sources are from grass-fed cows, as the diet they eat profoundly affects the nutritional profile and integrity of the product. Personally, I avoid all processed dairy as much as possible. The processing (pasteurization and homogenization) completely destroys the integrity and nutritional benefits of the dairy product. Good plant-based fats include coconut oil, olive oil, and organic raw nuts (ideally soaked and sprouted to make them more digestible and nutritious). Avoid fat-free and reduced-fat processed foods at the grocery store. Remember, it’s important to try and get the highest quality source of foods. Raw, organic, and GMO-free is best. Don’t let food companies destroy the integrity of your body for the sake of gaining more profits. You vote with your dollar. Support food companies that actually care about what their food does to your body.
All foods, including fat, should be consumed in moderation with regular physical activity and with a balance of other foods. Healthy fats should be consumed every day. Certain health conditions can make digesting fats difficult. Please ask Dr. Arns for ways to make the digestion of fats easier for you if you have difficulty.