Fats That Make You Thin
The word alone is enough to send most people running for the hills. But contrary to popular belief, fat is actually good for you. It is as important to the human body as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, experts recommend that 15-20% of our diet should consist of fat. It just needs to be the right kind.
Fats can be placed into 3 categories—the good, the bad and the downright ugly. It's the good fats—also known as essential fatty acids, or EFAs—that we need to include in our diet on a regular basis. Note the word essential. Our bodies cannot produce these vital-for-health fatty acids, so we need to get them from our food.
The EFA omega-3 helps to produce neurotransmitters in the brain, which make us feel and perform at our best. Omega-3 also reduces the stickiness of blood and controls cholesterol and fat levels. This improves our immune function and metabolism.
Therefore, as opposed to making us fat, it can actually help us to lose weight. Other benefits of omega-3 include keeping our joints flexible, our bones strong, and our hearts healthy. They improve the look of our skin and hair, and lower the risk of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and psoriasis.
It can even help control glucose levels in diabetics, tackle menstrual problems, and protect against certain types of cancer. Low levels of omega-3 have been linked to depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, learning difficulties, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Low levels can also cause kidney failure, liver degeneration, breakdown of the immune system, and hair loss.
To find out if you are deficient in this important fat, there are a number of symptoms you can look for. These include dry or flaky skin and hair, a bad memory, learning difficulties, excessive thirst, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, water retention, and inflammatory problems.
Now you know the benefits of omega-3, and the possible consequences of a lack of it. To include this indoor diet, the best sources of omega-3 are found in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, pilchards, and fresh (but not tinned) tuna, as well as fish oils—the most well known of these being cod liver oil. The Food Standards Agency suggests we eat at least 2 portions of oily fish per week, plus a daily fish oil capsule.
Other rich sources, especially important to vegetarians, are nuts and seeds. Flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts contain the most omega-3 Include eggs, wheat, dairy, avocados, and soya products like tofu and Quorn in your diet and there's no excuse for not getting enough of it!
Let's now take a quick look at the fats which are less beneficial to health—and the ones which are just plain dangerous.
Saturated fat, found in vast quantities in red meat and other animal products such as cheese, can—in excess—lead to high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol—the bad kind—and heart disease, so intake should be kept to a minimum. Check the label. A food should ideally contain no more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g.
Hydrogenated fats are the worst. They are not naturally occurring—they
are manufactured by exposing oils such as vegetable oil to extreme heat and forcing hydrogen into the boiling fat molecules, losing practically all the nutrients.
The process creates molecules which are the wrong shapes to fit into the human body and can prevent beneficial fat molecules from entering your system. Hydrogenated fats, also known as trans-fatty acids, create a build-up of LDL cholesterol, and have been discovered to be a major cause of heart disease and cancer.
They can also interfere with brain cell signaling. They can be found in convenience foods such as ready-meals, certain sweets and chocolate. Your intake should be as close to zero as possible.
Keep this in mind the next time you are grocery shopping, and be sure to check labels for good and bad fat content. Aim to buy foods low in detrimental fats and high in beneficial fats for optimum health and wellbeing.