The Importance of Essential Fats in a Healthy Diet

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Contrary to popular belief, not all types of fats are bad for the health. A selected few are known to promote brain development, fight inflammation and even prevent cancer! Fats – the good, unsaturated kinds – are an integral part of the human diet. It’s unwise to eliminate beneficial fats in your diet. In today’s post, we are listing down healthy fats you should add to your daily diet right now:

Polyunsaturated Fat

Essential fatty acids – like omega-3 and omega-6 – are named as such because the body cannot produce them on its own. We get our dose of essential fats from the food we eat. Essential fatty acids are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that keep the cardiovascular, immune, and nervous systems healthy. These essential fats promote proper brain function, vitality and mobility. They also contribute to the cells ability to receive nutrients and eliminate waste. Essential fatty acids fight inflammation and boost cell regeneration.  In children, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is linked to superior cognitive function. The best sources of essential fatty acids are grains, oily fish and nuts like walnuts, almonds, and cashews.

Gamma-Linolenic acid or GLA

Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA fights inflammation, soothes damaged skin and promotes faster healing. This nutrient also regulates water loss and aids in the production of hormone-like substances called eicosanoids. The anti-inflammatory compounds in GLA boost blood circulation by expanding the blood vessels. Research shows that GLA helps improve immunity, reduces cholesterol level, and fights cancer. It even cuts the risk of inflammatory diseases like arthritis and gout! The best sources of GLA are hemp seed oil, evening primrose oil, spirulina, and borage oil.

Medium-Chain Triglycerides or MTCs

Coconut oil is having a moment in the beauty and health industry and for good reasons! This oil is one of the best sources of medium-chain triglycerides or MTCs. MTCs are a type of saturated fat that improves liver, pancreas, and digestive health. That’s what makes MTCs unique. Usually, saturated fats are bad for the health but not MTCs.

When taken, MTCs are processed by the liver, converting it into energy. The nutrients in MTCs are known to boost organ health, while energizing the body. These fatty acids also strengthen the heart, keep the immune system strong and even promote weight loss. MTCs are also prized for their skin-friendly benefits. These fatty acids strengthen the skin, smooth out wrinkles and reduce skin inflammation.

Monounsaturated Fat

Raw, unprocessed oil from organically produced nuts and plants are prized for their rich phytonutrient content. Flaxseed oil, coconut oil, hemp oil, argan oil and olive oil are just a few of plant-based oils that contain chlorophyll, phytosterols, carotenoids, lignans (Phytoestrogens), tocopherols, tocotrienols, flavonoids (polyphenols) and other amazing nutrients. Whether used internally or externally, these plant-based oils improve the health. The nutrients found in unprocessed plant oils are also renowned for cutting the risk of certain cancers!

Even better, plant-based oils are packed with antioxidants. Berry seed oil and pomegranate seed oil contain the highest level of antioxidants among all plant-based oils. Although these oils are pricier compared to olive or coconut oil, they can cut the risk of cancer significantly. These oils also protect the body from oxidative stress, aging, and inflammation!

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