Why Fats are Essential to Your Health

The word "fat" has a negative connotation in our culture; as a result the grocery stores are over-flowing with low-fat and fat-free options. This is unfortunate because fats are essential to our health, and the processed fillers that make things fat free are not. The trick is consuming the right types of fats in the right quantities.

There are two main types of fats: saturated, and unsaturated. Fats are essential to your health because even a small amount can make you feel satisfied without over-eating. Consuming fats gives us energy,  helps our body absorb vitamins better, builds brain function, produces hormones, protects your organs, and makes skin healthier.  That is certainly enough benefits to make me want to avoid consuming only foods that are labeled "non-fat".  Now that we know we need fats to be healthy, here is a breakdown of the many types to choose from and see what works best for you.

 

SATURATED FATS

What is it?  From a chemical standpoint, saturated fats are simply fat molecules that have no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature.

How does it affect your health? Eating foods that contain saturated fats can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. Foods high in saturated fats tend to be high in calories too, that doesn't make them bad, just something to moderate. Eating too much of anything is never a good thing, and too much of saturated fats can result in weight gain and risk of higher cholesterol and disease. However if you can moderate and consume the amount your body needs it will improve your energy levels,  help your body absorb nutrients, increase clarity, produce hormones efficiently, protect your organs, and give your skin a healthy glow.

How much do you need?  A little goes a long way. The American Heart Association recommends a diet that includes 25 to 35 percent of total calories from fat. If you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fats. That’s about 13 grams of saturated fats a day.  Your fat requirements may vary based on different health factors and activity levels.

Examples:  heavier animal meats  like steak, sausage, brisket, and dairy products like cheese, butter, and cream

 

UNSATURATED FATS

What is it? Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the two unsaturated fats, often called omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

How does if affect your health?  Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats may help improve your blood cholesterol when you use them in place of saturated and trans fats. Too much result in excess weight and higher risk of disease; however the right amounts still give us all those great benefits I mentioned earlier: increased energy, brain function and absorption of nutrients, as well as protecting your organs, and making your skin glow. 

How much do you need?  The American Heart Association recommends a diet that includes 25 to 35 percent of total calories from fat. The majority of those calories should come from unsaturated fat. If you consume 2000 calories daily, aim for 40 to 60 grams of unsaturated fat per day.

Examples: mainly found in fish such as salmon, trout and herring, avocados, olives, walnuts, brazil nuts, pecans, pine nuts and liquid vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, safflower, canola, olive and sunflower.

 

So stock up on fats and enjoy these brain foods while getting glowing skin and great energy.

Cheers to your health!

Julie Jones