Let’s Talk About Fat

Let’s Talk About Fat

March 17, 2016

Fat is often deemed the enemy; people fear that the fat they consume will end up on their midsection.  However, the truth is that not all fats are bad. In fact, we all need fat for survival; it is essential for brain, nerve, and skin cells to function properly and grow.

Did you know that you also need fat to surround your organs as a protective layer that insulates and holds them in place? Without this surrounding fat, you experience more pain and discomfort and you may develop other health issues. Also, fat is used to regulate your overall body temperature. This is something that most people don’t really think about, but your body is focused on keeping you alive and healthy; fats help you in this process.  And fat is responsible for giving you energy as well! You need to simply become aware of what types of fat are good for you and what fats are bad for you.

You want to avoid saturated fats and trans fats. These two fats are solid at room temperature. Butter is an example of saturated fat. Most people have butter sitting on their counter all day and night, year-round. Notice how the shape of the butter stays the same no matter how long it stays out of the refrigerator. Crisco is an example of trans fat. Many people use this in baking; it stays solid in their cupboard for years.  Consuming these types of fat will raise your bad cholesterol levels and lower your good cholesterol levels. In doing this, your chances of having a stroke or developing heart decrease greatly increase.

The two types of fats we need in our diets to survive are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These two types of fats are liquid at room temperature. Olive oil and canola oil are examples of these beneficial fats. The good fats increase your good levels of cholesterol and lower your bad levels of cholesterol, lowering your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Some other helpful examples of good fats are avocados, nuts, seeds, and oily fish like tuna or salmon.

Don’t be afraid to eat some fat in your everyday lives. Become aware of the type of fats in your go-to snacks and meals and see if you can mix it up to be healthier! Try making your eggs with olive oil instead of butter. Look to nuts and dried fruit for a snack instead of cookies and candy, which are often laden with saturated fat and trans fat. Once you become aware and knowledgeable about what you are putting in your mouth, the rest will fall into place!

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