The truth is that your body needs fat to function.
Fat is indeed an essential nutrient we need to survive and thrive, but not all fats are created equal. Generally, fats that are close to their natural form are healthy, where those fats that are highly refined and processed are not healthy. It is also important to distinguish non-animal fats and animal fats, and fats for hot uses and fats for cold uses.
The importance of healthy fats in your diet can’t be stressed enough. By eating a wide-variety of fat-based whole foods, such as high-quality animal meats, animal fats, fish, seafood, eggs, olives, avocado, nuts and seeds, you can help to ensure that you are consuming a good balance of healthy fats.
The Benefits of Healthy Fats:
Aid in the absorption of minerals: Vegetables commonly found in salads are essentially fat-free and are a rich source of healthy carotenoids. In order for these carotenoids to be absorbed by the human digestive system, fat is needed.
Aid in the absorption of vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E, and K are considered fat-soluble and get stored longer in the liver and in fat. So your body hangs onto fat-soluble vitamins longer.
Cell growth: Fat provides structure to the outer membrane of every cell in your body.
Satiety: Fats do have an effect on satiety and regulate appetite through several mechanisms including the release of appetite hormones and inhibition of gastric emptying and intestinal transit.
Energy: Fats are rich in energy, each gram of fat you consume provides you with about 9 calories of energy. For comparison, each gram of carbohydrate or protein yields only 4 calories of energy.
Foster Liver Health: Polyunsaturated fatty acids can help decrease liver fat.
Improve Skin: If you want to have healthy, glowing skin, then you must have plenty of healthy fats in your diet. Healthy skin requires essential fatty acids. This is because omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats cause the rise of eicosanoids, which affects your skin’s inflammatory response.
Helps your body function: Your body needs dietary fat for many biological processes. You wouldn't be able to live a healthy life without it.
Helps immune system: Fatty acids directly affect the cells of the immune system, Omega-3 fatty acids ameliorate symptoms such as sepsis or autoimmune hepatitis, and have been tested in clinical trials with positive outcome.
Hormone production: Your body needs dietary fat in order to make specific hormones, including the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen.
Increases or maintains good HDL: Choosing healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil and avocados, can help improve your HDL cholesterol.
Insulation from cold: The biological process of metabolism, fueled by eating fat, may make you feel warmer.
Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels: Studies indicate that healthy fat is essential in fostering glycemic control, helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels in people with insulin resistance.
Lower Inflammation: Omega-3 fatty acids in particular have been shown to help fight inflammation, which may help reduce one’s risk of injury and improve heart health.
Reduce belly fat: According to a study from the American Diabetes Association, increased consumption of monounsaturated fats (in place of trans fats) was linked to less central fat distribution and decreased insulin resistance.
Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease: Many studies have found that a high intake of monounsaturated fats can reduce levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides
Supports brain and eye health: The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) help maintain the health of your brain, central nervous system, and retinas. Your body doesn’t make these fatty acids — you can only get them from your diet.
Support Optimal Cholesterol Levels: Studies show that healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish) are great for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Consuming these fats might help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
Wound Healing: Essential fatty acids play a key role in wound healing and blood clotting.
Summary: The importance of healthy fats in your meal plan can’t be denied, natural unprocessed fats are an integral part of a healthy diet, providing essential fatty acids and helping to keep you full.