For years, dietary fats have had a bad reputation. But, as science advances and public opinion shifts, we are once again beginning to embrace fats as part of a healthy diet. For decades, we have cut down on fat intake, reducing our overall consumption of healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids – essential fatty acids necessary to maintain and support good health. As we learn more about nutrition, the importance of dietary fat in a balanced eating plan is becoming clearer.
Reclaiming Dietary Fats
Today, we’re learning more about the importance of dietary fats for our overall health. Fats are essential for a variety of physiological functions like providing energy and storing vitamins and minerals. They also play a role in creating hormones and regulating our metabolism. Common sources of healthy fats include fish, nuts, seeds, and foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil and avocados.
Saturated fats – the ones to be cautious about – tend to be found in animal products like red meat, eggs and butter, as well as processed foods like chips and baked goods. It is important to note that saturated fats are not necessarily unhealthy, but these foods should always be consumed in moderation.
Factors for Healthy Fats
When considering dietary fat, it is important to consider the type of fat as well as its source. Foods that contain healthy fats are often high in essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Eating a variety of healthy fats can help to provide the body with a balance of essential fatty acids and appropriate amounts of healthy fats.
In addition, it is important to look at the source of dietary fats. Consuming fats from whole foods such as nuts, seeds and fish may be better for you than processed food sources such as chips, cookies and other baked goods that are often high in saturated fats.
The Benefits of Eating Fats
In addition to providing the body with a balanced mix of essential fatty acids, dietary fats play an important role in our overall health. They help to keep us full, provide energy and fuel, support brain health and improve mental performance, reduce inflammation, and help to maintain healthy skin and hair.
Consuming a variety of healthy fats can help to reduce cholesterol levels, promote healthy blood sugar levels and make us feel satiated after meals. When included in the dietary plan, fats provide the body with essential vitamins and minerals, as well as providing vital energy to the body and aiding in digestion.
Wellness and Fat in the Diet
When incorporating fats into a healthy diet, the goal should be balance. Rather than completely eliminating dietary fats, it is important to focus on maintaining a balance of healthy and unhealthy fats. This means making sure that the majority of fat is from healthy sources such as fish, nuts, and vegetables, and limiting the amount of processed and unhealthy fats.
It is also important to remember that fat is often an essential part of a healthy diet – providing essential fatty acids and helping us to feel fuller for longer. When included as part of a balanced diet, dietary fats can be an important contributor to overall wellness and provide a variety of health benefits.
Fats have made a comeback and are now being incorporated into a healthy diet. As we learn more about nutrition and wellness, the importance of including fats in our diet becomes clearer. Through eating a balanced mix of healthy dietary fats, we can reap the benefits of essential fatty acids and contribute to our overall health and wellbeing.