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Since the 80s and 90s, fat has been much more than a dreaded three-letter word. Doctors and nutritionists alike have urged us to banish it from our diets whenever possible. And as a result, we switched to everything low-fat.
But did the shift actually make us healthier? The answer is no, probably because in the process we cut down on healthy fats alongside the harmful ones.
Fast forward to today: experts vouch on fat as a must-have and full-fat products such as whole milk, avocado, ghee, and coconut oil join the ranks of superfoods.
A deeper dive into researches has repeatedly proved that the rise in obesity and heart disease has its roots in overall poor diet and eating pattern coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, than simply having some fat in your daily food items.
Contrarily, fat is very much needed for rudimentary things like building cell membranes, blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation. For the weightlifters out there, a healthy fat-consisting diet also helps towards muscle building in ways more than one.
Good Vs Bad Fat
Chemically speaking, all fats have somewhat similar chemical structure at a basic level. What separates them from each other is the length and shape of the carbon chain and the number of hydrogen atoms connected to the carbon atoms. These slight differences in the structure is what translates into crucial differences in function.
Generally, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are referred to as 'healthy fats'. However, mostly in our daily lives, we generally consume 'unhealthy fats' that come in the form of trans-fatty acids in processed foods and hydrogenated fats from various cooking oils.
Science says that you need to balance the consumption of mono, poly, and saturated fats evenly for an optimum health. From that perspective, the current ratio stands somewhere around 20:1. Therefore, there is utter need of consuming more fats in the form of unprocessed and whole food sources of healthy fats.
So What Exactly Are The Benefits Of Fat?
Fat definitely has its drawbacks, but it also has myriad benefits. A thorough understanding of how fat affects your body will give you a clearer perspective of how you can seamlessly integrate it into your diet.
We are here to help you out.
1. Reduction Of Disease Risk
Both mono and polyunsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, cold-water fish, etc.) and unsaturated fats (oils made from olives, corn, sunflowers, and vegetables) come with heart-healthy benefits. Monounsaturated fats lower your LDL levels, which decrease the risk of stroke and heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to heart disease prevention, also help with blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, highlighted a research by Harvard School of Public Health.
2. Deeper And Better Sleep
It's believed and proven that sound sleep is the key to optimum health. Lack of sleep may also result in increasing obesity. The level of DHA in your body is directly proportional to the intake of fatty acids, which again is associated with production of a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin helps you fall asleep. Also, as you increase the consumption of fat, studies show that there is an enhancement in quality of sleep. More sleep essentially means better life quality and better muscle growth.
3. Healthy Glowing Skin
Fatty acids like EPA and DHA play a pivotal role in maintaining excellent skin health. DHA refers to the structural component of the skin and is responsible for healthy cell membranes. Fatty acids can also benefit your skin by managing oil production in the skin, hydration, preventing premature ageing, and preventing the skin from sun damage.
4. Better Bone And Joint Health
f you are lifting heavy weights in the gym, you're never away from the risk of injuring your bones and tendons. Therefore, it is crucial to have good bone health too. And an increased level of fatty acids in the body can do wonders to your bone strength by increasing the amount of calcium on your bones. This can also help with reduced joint pains and increased grip strength.
5. Higher Testosterone
Muscle growth is largely dependent on testosterone levels. In a study that aimed at identifying the impact of high-fat diets on testosterone levels, the subjects performed heavy weight training and complemented it with increased intake of fat in their diet. It showed a prominent increase in their testosterone.
Since now you already know good and bad fats, let us tell you that there are further disagreements regarding how much of "good fat" should be consumed in comparison to the other macronutrients-proteins and carbohydrates.
So it's always advised to consider an expert or your personal nutritionist before making any major change to your diet.
Let us know your feedback in the comments section below.