When we’re trying eat healthier or lose weight, we think about reducing our intake of sugars and fats – things that cause weight gain and aren’t considered ‘healthy.’ We start thinking “low fat” and “no fat.” But it’s important to consume ‘healthy fats’ – a proper amount of trans fat (which we easily consume with our protein sources), as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. While I mentioned these in my last post about eating what you need instead of dieting, I thought you might be wondering why, exactly, these fats are so important.
Healthy fats help us build and maintain a healthy immune system, and have other positive effects. Healthy fats have been proven to:
• Reduce inflammation in the body
• Reduce pain associated with inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
• Increase metabolism
• Reduce fat mass and increase lean mass
• Improve moods and decrease symptoms of depression
In addition, maintaining a proper fat balance is important for hormonal regulation, including female menstrual cycles and testosterone production in males.
Not sure where to find these healthy fats? Some excellent sources that can be easily included in your daily meals and snacks include avocado, almonds, pecans, olive oil and peanuts in the monounsaturated family; polyunsaturated fats can be found in flax, safflower oils and hemp. It doesn’t take much so add some goodness and take advantage of the benefits too.
Sometimes it can be hard to keep it simple but that is exactly what you need. Getting overwhelmed is easy if you make too many changes at once. In this post, Yes, Some Fats are Good for You, I go into a lot more detail about what healthy fats are and how to get them into your diet easily.