When you walk into the supermarket, you see a range of low fat or zero fat products. Logically it makes sense; eat less fat, lose body fat, simple!
Unfortunately, it's not so simple. Calories in should equal calories out and this is how we should maintain our body weight. But fat is important. We need adequate fat to support metabolism, cell signalling, the health of various body tissues, immunity, hormone production, and the absorption of many nutrients such as vitamins A and D.
Healthy fat consumption can also help alleviate depression. Having enough fat will also help keep you feeling full between meals. No doubt you have seen the suggestion that the intake of omega-3 is linked to brain health.
This is because our brains are lipid based and the fatty sheath that insulates our nervous system allowing nerve impulses to travel from our brains to our limbs etc. So, the fat we consume becomes part of our cells. It affects inflammation, blood clotting, pain and airway constriction in a positive or negative way.
But we typically consume too many unhealthy fats and these are the fats we should be cutting down on. Unhealthy fats are typically those that are industrially produced and designed to be non-perishable, such as: trans- fatty acids that appear in processed foods; hydrogenated fats such as margarine (hydrogen is added to the fat chain to make a normally liquid and perishable fat into a solid and shelf-stable fat); most shelf-stable cooking oils
These fats contain more omega-6 and saturated fat. We should consume a diet rich in omega-3 in the same quantities as omega-6. The modern diet comprises of 16 or 20 times more omega 6 or the harmful fats.
We should be consuming a mix of fat types from whole, unprocessed, high-quality foods. These include nuts, seeds (hemp, flax, and chia are especially nutritious), fish, seaweed, pasture-raised/grass- fed animals/eggs, olives, avocado and coconut oil.
By adding a tablespoon of milled flaxseeds to porridge or smoothies in the morning, consuming some avocado with lunch and consuming an oily fish like salmon for your evening meal, you will easily increase your consumption of omega-3s in your diet.
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