Choosing Healthy Fats
If you’re like me when it comes to fat and our diet you probably hear conflicting information on a daily basis about whether it is good for us and which ones we should consume or if we should consume any at all. The truth is that we need fat and it is true that some fats are good for us while the majority of fats available are not good for us. I have written previously about all the functions in our body that require fat, from breathing to our immune system to being able to build bones. Today I’d like to discuss which fats to choose. Different types of fats turn various genes on and off and also influence how cells communicate with each other. (1)
First, we should avoid fats and oils high in omega-6 fatty acids because they are considered pro-inflammatory, which means they cause inflammation in the body; inflammation is bad because it is the underlying cause of most diseases. (1) These are oils like corn, safflower, sunflower, vegetable, soy and canola. Omega -6’s contained in many refined oils like these actually turn on genes involved in inflammation and cancer (1) so you can see why you want to limit these in your diet. When we consume too many of the omega-6’s and not enough omega- 3’s it also speeds up the aging process in our bodies. (2) So making a strong attempt to remove these fats and oils from your diet and focusing on consuming oils with omega- 3 fatty acids is important.
The oils we do want to consume are ones like olive oil, avocado oil and fish oil. These turn off the genes that control inflammation and cancer promotion. (1). Fish oil and grass-fed livestock contain good amounts of omega -3’s, while olive and avocado oil contains omega -9 fatty acids which enhances the benefits of the omega – 3 fatty acids. Fish oil may also have an added benefit when it comes to weight loss. In a study focusing on weight loss in mice, findings showed evidence that fish oil can activate brown adipose tissue to burn fat and help with weight loss”.(3)
The great news is that you can make good changes to your health fairly quickly! Focus on adding good sources of protein like wild caught salmon and grass-fed beef, make your own salad dressing and sauces using extra virgin olive or avocado oil, and avoid fast food and deep-fried foods. In doing so, you can change the ratio of fatty acids to benefit your body and your waistline!
- Challem, Jack. Feed Your Genes Right. John Wiley and Sons. 2005
- Blackburn, Elizabeth PHD, and Elissa Epel PHD. The Telomere Effect. Grand Central Publishing. 2017.
Oaklander, Mandy. “This Popular Supplement May Spur Weight Loss: Study”, Time Magazine, December 21, 2015. https://time.com/4155477/fish-oil-omega-3-weight-loss/.