Chew The Fats

Good fats and bad fats are in all of our foods, learning the difference between them, and understanding how the body processes these essential nutrients is fundamental to healthy food planning,  so let’s go!

Cholesterol is a word that most people recognise as meaning heart disease, and this is true, in that cholesterol at high levels creates restriction in the heart arteries which may eventuate into a stroke or heart attack. But cholesterol is also an essential for our life, it builds and maintains cell membranes; regulates membrane fluidity, is a precursor molecule for many biochemical pathways, in the liver cholesterol is converted to bile which breaks down fats in the digestive tract, and is an important building block for the synthesis of vitamin D, steroidal hormones, cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen (whew!).

When an individuals diet is high in saturated fats (meat, eggs, dairy etc) and trans fats(some vegetable oils, margarine, prepackaged cakes,pastries, take away food)this increases the livers production of cholesterol, as cholesterol as a fat cannot be broken down in the blood it requires lipoproteins to  move around.

There are 2 main types of lipoproteins, Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL or commonly known as Bad Fats) and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL or commonly known as Good Fats). When the body has high levels of LDL this may cause a build up along artery walls, and in combination with other substances forms a plaque like deposit, this is called arteriosclerosis which is the stroke or heart attack moment. When the body is high in HDL arterial walls are clean and lovely.

HDL’s  move cholesterol from the arteries and back to the liver where the cholesterol is converted to bile, bile is like a dish washing soap that breaks down fats, and assists the intestinal absorption of fat molecules and fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins assist the various mechanisms for bone and organ development, blood viscosity, and the antioxidation of cells, and as such, are essential for healthy development.

A balance of the Good and Bad Fats(as in all areas of Life!) are often genetic, and yet, a healthy diet in combination with regular exercise, and reduced daily stress will create a surefire recipe for increased well being and vitality.

We must eat Essential Fatty Acids as our body requires them, yet cannot produce them on it’s own. EFA’s are found in fish, shellfish, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, canola oil, leafy green vegetables, walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, acai berry, poultry, grains, avocado. Endeavour to eat a wide variety of whole, fresh foods, this will ensure all vitamins, minerals and Good Fats will be consumed.

The diet also needs to increase it’s consumption of cold water fish such as sardines, herring, anchovy, and mackeral, these fish obtain their omega 3 fatty acids from algae and as such some seaweeds also contain EFA’s, this is great for vegetarians.

Triglycerides are stored body fat, think of  body fat as coal in the storehouse, ask yourself, do you burn your daily coal or keep storing it for that fire that will never burn big enough? Foods high in fats are obvious, please be alert to take away foods, fried food, prepackaged cakes, biscuits, pastries etc, look at them as coal in the bucket of life that is the fuel for your fire of fatty desire.

Diets high in carbohydrates may also increase body fat levels, think of carbs as sugar, how much energy do you exert in your waking day? Carbohydrates are essential for brain functioning and muscular movement, yet the amount of carbohydrate one eats in relation to their exercise levels will answer how much sugar is required for the day. When carbs are not utilised by the body, they will be absorbed via insulin and stored as triglycerides=more coal in the storehouse.

Chew the fats every day, as your body does in fact need them, read up on healthy food options, we live in a time of glorious abundance, the choice is yours for the tasting.