Not all the fat is bad and it would be a major mistake to cut out all the fat while trying to lose weight. There are four types of fats. Saturated and trans fats are not good while polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are good and are essential to the biological function of brain and body.
Consumption of saturated and trans fats leads to heart disease, weight gain and rise in cholesterol. It should be avoided at all costs. However, more than half of our brain is made up of fat and every cell in the body is protected by a membrane composed primarily of fat. So, it is understood why fat is required for our body.
Sources of Good Fats
The consumption of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats should not be overdone as those are high in calories, but are essential fatty acids (EFAs) that the body cannot produce by itself. Olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, pumpkin and sesame are excellent sources of monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are found in sunflower oil, corn oil, walnuts, fish and flax seeds.
Two Kinds of Polyunsaturated Fats – Omega-3 and Omega-6
These fats are important for the body and consumption should be on a one-to-one ratio. There are relatively few sources of omega-3s compared to omega-6s, and so many diets have become poor in the former and too heavy in the latter. A diet which contains too much omega-6 leads to imbalances, which then lead to a host of modern day conditions like heart disease and cancer.
To get the right amount of omega-3 it is suggested to eat fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel and herring at least three times a week. It is also suggested to consume fresh walnuts, dark, leafy greens, butter and coconut. Omega-6 can be found in seeds and nuts as well as all the oils which are derived from these.
Organic Flax Seeds
Organic flax seeds contain a high percentage of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats and are considered as an ideal source. Depression, hormonal imbalances, brittle hair and dry skin as well as low immunity can be attributed to a diet low in omega-3.
Flax seeds contain phytochemicals, which are produced naturally in plants and are regarded as antioxidants with cancer fighting and anti-inflammatory properties.
Fats and Body Chemistry
As with everything else, balance is the key and it is important to make the right food choices. According to Dr. Neal Barnard in The Vegetarian Times, “The fats you eat can dramatically affect your body chemistry. Whether they come from fryer grease or more healthful sources, they pass from your digestive tract into your bloodstream. Traces of these fats end up parking in the cell membranes surrounding each cell of your body. And what they do there, whether they help or hurt, depends on which fats they are.”