Yep, you read the title correctly. Believe it or not, eating good fats is absolutely essential to health. And we’re not stopping at just one reason to eat fat – here are 10!
The first reason is of particular interest to those with diabetes. Eating healthy fats helps to stabilize post-meal blood sugar levels. Fat slows the emptying of food from the stomach to the small intestine. This gives the body more time to process the meal, keeping blood sugar more consistent.
Secondly, eating good fats lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Therefore, risk is reduced for cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. A focus on heart health is also important for diabetics. The number one cause of death for diabetics is not high blood sugar, it is heart disease. Eating good fats is key to achieving and maintaining a healthy heart.
Our next reason may sound simple, but it’s true… fat is delicious! Foods high in healthy fats are satisfying and help you to feel full. You’ll stay full far longer after eating fat than you would after eating carbs, that’s for sure.
Those feelings of fullness also help to prevent cravings, especially for carbs. When your tummy is full, you won’t be as tempted to snack or cheat. Feeling satisfied for hours after a meal is just one more way fat helps manage blood sugar, and just one more reason to eat it!
Sticking to that train of thought, say you keep your calorie consumption to 2,000 per day. Foods that contain healthy fats can be high in calories, but are very nutrient dense. That means they don’t contain a bunch of “empty” calories that do nothing for the body. When you add more healthy fats to your diet, there will be less calories remaining out of your daily limit for less nutritious foods.
Speaking of calories, eating healthy fats can help boost metabolism. A diet high in healthy fats, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates is becoming well-known for dramatic weight loss. When the body runs on fat for fuel rather than glucose, it becomes a body fat burning machine. It may sound strange, but eating fat will not make you fat. In fact, consuming good fats is essential to maintaining a healthy body weight.
Think hormones are to blame for weight loss difficulties? Fat can help! Hormones are actually formed from fat and cholesterol. Hormone production would suffer greatly in the absence of fat. Nutrient deficiencies can also prompt hormone imbalance. Certain vitamins like A, D, and K can only be absorbed in the presence of fat. By increasing the healthy fats in your diet, hormones will naturally become more stable.
Speaking of balanced hormones, how about the effects of fat on mood? Nuts and seeds encourage the brain to produce serotonin, the “happiness hormone.” Serotonin earned that nickname because it prompts feelings of well-being. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon, have been linked with improving symptoms of mood disorders. Food directly impacts mood! Eating more healthy fats is a fantastic mood booster.
While we’re on the subject, good fats are a brain’s best friend. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular provide a big boost to brain function and are a fantastic anti-inflammatory. Healthy fats also contain antioxidants like vitamin E, which help protect the brain against free radical damage.
Hoping to see some health benefits in the mirror? Omega 3’s and vitamin E contribute to healthier skin, shinier hair, and an overall more youthful appearance. I tell you what, is there anything healthy fats can’t do?
Let’s recap. Not only do good fats reduce blood sugar, improve heart and brain health, and encourage weight loss, they also balance hormones, boost mood, and help you look younger. All these benefits gained from eating delicious foods high in healthy fats!
Stephanie Johnson has a masters degree from the University of Central Florida and is a Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant.