Fat is a nutrient. Did you know that?
Hearing this fact is always an “Ah Ha” moment for my RESTART students.
Not only is fat a nutrient found in food, but it is one of the three nutrients classified as macro-nutrients – proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
All three work synergistically together and require each other for proper assimilation. It is imperative to have a good balance of the three.
It is a fallacy to think that we can survive and thrive on a fat-free or low-fat diet. Dietary fat has too many CRITICAL roles in the body!
Over the next several weeks, I will unpack some off these vital roles. Perhaps understanding these roles can help us overcome our fear of dietary fat.
You will be able to decide for yourself if fat is a friend or a foe.
First up. Cell membrane formation and organ protection.
Dietary fat provides the building blocks for creating ALL of our cell membranes. The quality of ALL of the cells in our body depends on the quantity and quality of our fat intake.
Every cell wall is composed of phospholipids – saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. The right composition of the three is essential for proper fluidity/rigidity and for cellular integrity.
We need proper fluidity/rigidity and cellular integrity for our cells to maintain their composition and not collapse. For example, too much polyunsaturated fat can cause our cells to be too fluid. Our body in its innate intelligence will produce cholesterol to make it more rigid. Ha! And we thought cholesterol was our enemy. It seems our bodies know more than the diet dictocrats.
What is more, we need cellular integrity for nutrients to get into the cell. When lacking fat in the diet or consuming poor-quality fat (i.e. hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, or vegetables oils such as canola, corn, cotton seed, safflower, soybean, and sunflower), our cells do not form properly. Poor quality cell membranes lead to poor nutrient exchange across cells, which leads to metabolic dysfunction. We begin to experience signs and symptoms of disorder and are on the verge of full-blown disease.
However, when we have quality cell membranes, chemical messages are sent, nutrients get transferred across the cell membrane, the integrity of the cell itself is enhanced, and the appropriate water level stays inside the cell so it can function optimally. …And our health thrives!
In addition to being the building blocks for ALL of our cell membranes, dietary fats serve as a protective lining for our organs, systems, and visceral tissues. It is imperative we have the good quality dietary fat to create the shock absorption lining in the body. Without this, we could run into a table and easily bruise our liver or another organ.
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I notice a huge difference in how I feel eating sufficient quality fats. In addition to having sustained energy (another role that I will discuss in an upcoming blog), I can think clearer, I stay warm even with low body fat, my skin radiates health, and I simply feel good.
So, what are good quality fats?
Her are a few:
If you are not already consuming these healthy fats, you do not have to wait till I finish my series to start doing so. You can start today!
Try using coconut oil or chicken, duck or goose fat to fry your eggs. Add some butter or ghee to your cooked vegetables, potato or sourdough bread. Top your berries with some whipped cream…
Enjoy! Don’t be bashful. If you hold the concept that “fat is bad, it’s my enemy,” you probably are not consuming enough.
And let me know how much better you feel.
Peace and grace,