5 Benefits of Healthy Fats!
5 Benefits of Healthy Fats!
By Myprotein Writer Heather Geary
Many people see the word fat and automatically assume its bad for us, but there is such a thing as healthy fat – found in foods such as avocados, salmon and peanut butter.
Fat comes in two forms, saturated and unsaturated – the unsaturated are oils and saturated are solid.
The majority of fat in your diet should come from the unsaturated kind of fats – considering the recommended daily consumption for fat is around 30% of your daily calories, it is important you understand the difference in what fats to consume to avoid jeopardising your fitness goals!
It could be that you’re not eating enough of the stuff! Yes it’s true that fat does contain more calories per gram but it could lead to you eating less and feeling fuller… could it be the missing nutrient to assist your healthy lifestyle?
Fat is fuel
Fat is a huge fuel source and helps your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A,D,E and K.
The omega-3 fats (found in salmon and other oily fish) are important for optimum heart, brain and nerve function. They are also available to buy in capsule form as an easy way to get it into your diet.
The kind of fat you want to avoid is trans fat – an artificial kind of fat found in junk food and hydrogenated oils. Its important to check the labels on food but bare in mind that manufacturers can mark a product as containing no trans fat when it actually does, as long as the concentration doesn’t exceed .5 grams per serving!
— 5 Benefits of Healthy Fats —
Healthy fats are essential to any diet; the most common role of fat is great insulation to keep the body warm in addition to providing cushioning for vital organs, ensuring they are protected.
Here are a few important health benefits that fats provide that you might not have known…
1) Building muscle with fats
Really? Yes really!
Consuming fat whilst living an active lifestyle, particularly involving types of training, helps support hormone balance and allows for quicker, more effective recovery from physical exercise.
When building an equation of nutrients for your specific goals, protein and carbohydrates are often the main concerns – typically high protein, low carbs for weight loss, high protein and high carbs for muscle gain etc.
However, fat is usually less prominent in terms of sports nutrition – but that’s not an excuse to ignore studies showing benefits of healthy fats being the reason for reducing inflammation of the muscles and neutralising your hormone balance.
Experiment with your current diet by adding in foods rich in healthy fats – the typical effects that these fats should have consist of greater muscle gains, and for ladies – lean curves.
Peanut Butter is a great source of healthy fat – Myprotein’s version also contains 8g protein per serving for that additional growth and maintenance of muscle mass!
2) Promoting weight loss with fats
So you’re at the supermarket… you pick up all of your fat free foods to help you shift the weight and… STOP there!
One of the biggest and most common mistakes made by people is choosing fat free foods that are in fact full of sugar, additives and calories – believe it or not!
The ‘fat-free’ epidemic has taken the world by storm, yet thankfully more and more people are learning the truth about the health benefits of healthy fats. For example, more people now realise that eating almonds and drinking almond milk is incredibly beneficial for your body, now that more evidence has risen that they are in fact a healthy source of fat instead of being full of ‘bad’ fat.
The contents of fat-free foods are mostly considered as toxins to the body – they don’t recognise the compounds, therefore they can’t digest properly to benefit the normal function of your body. Toxins are ‘set-free’ into your body to just float… they have no advantage to your health.
That’s not to say you have to eat full-fat foods – we understand that it would be a big step in regards to being in a routine.
Consuming low fat food is a huge step towards a healthier body – more fat, less refined carbohydrates, meaning less bad sugars to substitute the fat.
Eating these types of foods benefit the body tremendously as the body can recognise fat as a compound, therefore digested as a healthy source to fuel your body, helping to replenish energy sources and contribute to an increase in metabolism… and you guessed it, better weight loss!
Weight loss will still occur when consuming fat-free foods but if you want a healthy inner body and have goals of leaning out – introducing healthy fats into your diet is definitely a great health decision to make!
3) Boost immune system with fats
Looking after your inner body will reflect on your outer body!
It is important to look after our immune system as it protects us from any unwanted intruders, such as bacteria or infected cells that commonly result in colds and flu.
So… how can fat look after our immune system?
To prevent or fight against any unwanted intruders that will weaken our immune system, it is important to have at least some fat in order to assist the absorption of antioxidants and vitamins into our body. Ideally the majority of fat should be healthy fats which have a positive effect on normal immune function.
Nuts, seeds, green vegetables and grains are some examples of foods high in beneficial fat sources Alpha-lipoic acid and Omega 3, which are needed to decrease inflammation of cells, reduce cell death and perform regeneration of antioxidants.
Coconut oil in particular has many great sources of immune-boosting properties. The easily digested, cholesterol-free oil contains lauric acid and caprylic acid, both known for their anti-viral duties of fighting yeast overgrowth and infections.
4) Healthier skin with fats
Males and females would both benefit from a boost of self-esteem having a naturally clear complexion and healthy skin.
Including healthy fats in your diet can actually promote this change!
Fatty acid deficiencies often cause dry, sometimes flaky skin and even acne, eliminating the chances of having plump, younger-looking skin.
Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are crucial for resolving these skin issues – their importance level reflect in their name!
One form of EFA’s are Polyunsaturated fats – such as Omega 3 and Omega 6. These provide the base for healthy cells which promotes the production of healthier skin!
5) Reduce depression with fats
Each new day is another chance to pursue your goals, exceed your potential and enjoy the life you’re living – so wouldn’t it be sensible to start by fuelling your mind and body with the nutrition it needs to function properly?
Consuming healthy fats can do just that, more specifically for your brain!
Cholosterol and fat are the two main compounds of your brain with the majority being EFA’s.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a particular essential fatty acid to pay close attention to and (believe it or not) saturated fat! – Not too much though! Remember – around 7% of the 30% daily fat consumption.
Providing your brain with DHA’s support your brain neurons that control everything from your senses to what your mood will be that day, therefore it would be safe to say that:
Less healthy fats = Decrease in mood
More healthy fats = Increase in mood
Increase the ratio of DHA’s to fuel your brain and increase serotonin (happy hormone!) levels by consuming Omega-3 fatty acids, either found in fish, e.g. salmon, seaweed or in softgel form for convenience!
Foods containing healthy fats
Just a few examples:
They have alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) a type of omega-3 fat thought to help fight against heart disease.
These contain monosaturated fats, they also contain plant sterols which is a compound that can lower cholestoerol.
They get their creamy texture from mono saturated fats, they contain fibre which helps with the digestive system and makes you feel full, they also contain potassium and vitamin c.
This is highly satisfying due to the unsaturated fats making it take longer to digest. Its also jam packed full of protein, be careful to stick to all natural peanut butters and avoid ones with added sugar and flavourings.
Contains DHA and EPA which are two kinds of omega-3 fats that can reduce inflammation, lower the risk of skin cancer and heart disease. Other fishes that are high in DHA and EPA are trout, mackeral or sardines.
When to eat healthy fats
Speculation often arises when discussing the correct times of day to consume certain foods. A few common ones, for example:
“No carbohydrates at night”
“Eat nothing at night”
“Just eat protein at night”
But what about fats? That one doesn’t seem to pop up as much!
Let’s look at the facts and decide for ourselves…
– Healthy fats, in addition to protein, are a source of nutrition that satisfies the stomach and keeps you full for a while.
– In addition, fat is great to keep insulin from spiking and can keep fatigue at bay.
– Fat also slows down the digestion of food so it can help provide your body with a steady supply of nutrients for a longer period of time.
Given the facts, I’d agree to say the most ideal time to consume the fats in your diet would be with your breakfast or lunch.
In terms of eating fats post workout – it really isn’t ideal as you want to get that protein to your muscles as fast as possible!
Take home message
To conclude – including a good healthy source of fats in your diet will not inhibit your weight or fitness goals but rather enhance and help you!