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Eat up With the Right Kind of Fats

By Donna Kostiew

I remember when I was in college and everyone was into eating only fat-free foods. Fat-free this, fat-free that. “Is it fat-free?” would be the question at most meals because “I can only eat it if it is” was the popular thought process at that time. Grocery stores were stocked with fat-free items on their shelves, and when the local frozen yogurt shop started replacing my favorite flavors with fat-free choices, I knew the fat-free lifestyle was here to stay.

Unfortunately, those fat-free thoughts have stuck because many people still believe that eating any kind of fat is bad for them. And although there are bad types of fat, and we should avoid them as best as we can, that doesn’t mean we should generalize all fats as “bad.” Some are good … and (surprise!) are needed in our diets. Avoiding these good types of fat can actually be counterproductive to achieving optimal health, but how do we know what’s what?

Your Body Needs the Good Kind of Fat

The right kinds of fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) are essential for your body to function properly. Here’s why they are important.

  • Provides a source of energy for most of our body’s functions
  • Supports growth development and cell functions
  • Protects your organs
  • Keeps your body warm
  • Promotes proper functioning of the body’s nerves and brain
  • Maintains healthy skin and tissue
  • Helps your body absorb nutrients and vitamins
  • Produces important hormones
  • Protects against disease
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Can improve cholesterol levels
  • Regulates heartbeat

While those healthy fats offer plenty of benefits, there are two kinds of fat you may want to cut back on. These are trans and saturated fats, and they should be avoided either completely or as best as you can.

Avoiding the Bad Kind of Fat

Trans and saturated fats are found in processed and fast foods, butter, red meat, whole dairy, and baked goods, just to name a few. They have been shown to raise your bad cholesterol levels while lowering your good. Consuming them also increases inflammation in your body as well as your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The best advice? Try to remove them from your diet as much as you can.

Finding the Right Kind of Fat

Just because you need to limit the bad fats in your diet does not mean you need to remove all fat. You can find the healthy fats in olive oil, avocados, nuts, flaxseed oil, seeds, eggs, and fatty fish. So don’t be afraid to include fat in your diet. Make wise choices, develop good eating habits, and enjoy the right kinds of fat with the right types of food.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Temecula, Calif.

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