Many people believe the myth ‘you are what you eat’, therefore if you eat fat, you’ll become fat. This has led to a nation avoiding dietary fat, thus missing out on a vital nutrient. Fat is NOT the enemy. Healthy fats fuel healthy hormones and help keep inflammation low. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are amongst the health boosting types, which include essential fatty acids (EFA) such as omega 3 and omega 6 – of which need to be obtained through food since our bodies can’t produce them.
Omega 6 EFA are found in vegetable oils such as corn, soy, nuts, seeds. Omega 3 EFA are found in linseeds (aka flaxseeds), hemp seeds & chia seeds. Omega 3 and omega 6 work in balance with one another, so it’s vital we get a good ratio. Simply speaking, omega 6 mostly causes inflammation and Omega 3 reduces it, meaning it’s crucial we’re getting an equal balance in our diets.
One of the main roles of fat is hormone production. We need cholesterol (found in fats) for our body to make our steroid hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Without adequate sex hormone production, we can start to see imbalances in other areas of the body. Hormones are like chemical messengers, communicating with one another to perform nearly every function in the body. If certain hormones are not being made, then a crucial gap in communication may occur, resulting in a domino effect on other hormones and functions in the body.
Like with everything, it depends on the quality and source of fats you’re choosing. I am not advocating eating high amounts of processed and fried foods; instead that we need to be including beneficial fats into our diet on a daily basis. Make sure to include a diet rich in nuts, seeds, olives & olive oil, avocados, nut butter, tahini & flaxseeds. As well as helping the production of steroid hormones, it will increase satiety, reduce inflammation, improve skin health, and help to balance blood sugar levels.