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Not All Fats Are Created Equal

Over the past few decades there has been a push to reduce dietary fat intake. In this same time period, we have witnessed an increase in cancer, heart disease, inflammatory disease, diabetes, and obesity.

It’s true that some fats should be avoided but not the ones many people think.  Eating the wrong fats can increase chronic inflammation, chronic disease and shorten lifespan.

Eating the right fats can help promote better metabolism, better blood sugar regulation, improve cellular function, reduce fat storage, increase vitamin absorption, regulate hormone production, decrease bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and reduce inflammation and pain.

Fats to Avoid:

Trans Fats

You do want to avoid all artificial trans fats, typically found in processed foods. These are listing as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils on the nutrition label.

These ultra stiff fats lead to stiffening of cell membranes. The health of the cell membrane determines the health of the cell. The ability for nutrients to move into the cell and wastes to leave, and for receptors to respond to hormones and neurotransmitters, all depend on the proper fluidity of the cell membrane. Trans fats stiffen the cell membrane, and not surprisingly, contribute to hardening of the arteries and have many other detrimental health effects.

Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oils are high in omega 6 essential fatty acid. These fats are essential nutrients we need to obtain from our diet. We get enough of these fats from consuming whole foods that we do not need to add anymore. The most common sources of excess omega 6 fats are vegetable oils.  These oils should be avoided: corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, and canola.

To maintain the proper fluidity of our cell membranes we should have a ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats that is 1:1. Current North American diets, are high in omega 6 fats due to high consumption of vegetable oils. This has led to ratios of omega 6:omega 3 estimated to be 16:1 – 40:1, in favor of omega 6 fats! This stiffens the cell membrane and also triggers inflammatory pathways in the body leading to chronic disease. Your best bet is to just throw out all those oils in your pantry, today.

When these vegetable oils are fried at high heat, they convert to trans fats and oxidize, leading to compounds even more toxic than trans fats. These oils should be avoided for cooking. Especially at high temperatures.

This means avoid margarine, which is high in both vegetable oil and often trans fats. Opt for the healthier full fat butter instead.

Fats to Include:

Fish Oils

If you could only add one fat to your diet, this is it!  The North American diet is extremely deficient in omega 3 fatty acids.  The best sources of omega 3 fats are cold water fatty fish, cod liver oil, krill oil, and fish oil supplements.  We want to get as close as we can to the 1:1 Omega 6:Omega 3 ratios of our accentors, but even as low as 4:1-2.5:1 can reduce rates of heart disease, cancer, asthma, and inflammatory arthritis.

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, pecans to name a few. These nuts are high in fat soluble vitamins, reduce inflammation, provide protein, contain omega 3 fats, and more. The best way to eat your nuts is to soak them for 18 hours, then dehydrate them, and dry roast. This process reduces the anti-nutrient phytic acid that is found in grains, nuts, and legumes. The next best options are to eat them dry roasted or raw. Avoid nuts roasted in oil.

Chia, hemp, ground flax, pumpkin, sesame, and nigella seeds are nutrient dense. They contain essential vitamins and minerals, protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is easily the healthiest source of saturated fat. It is a very stable oil and is the best oil to use for cooking. Instead of being stored as fat, the fats in coconut oil are quickly converted to energy. These fats also reduce hunger, increase nutrient absorption, help regulate blood sugar and promote the production and balance of key hormones.

Avocados & Olive Oil

85% of the calories in an avocado come from healthy fat! The fats in avocados and olive oil help to keep inflammation under control and create the optimal environment for the absorption of fat soluble nutrients. Add an avocado to your salad and your absorption of key nutrients from your greens will increase by 200-400%! Avocado oil can be used for cooking, whereas olive oil cannot. Heating olive oil to high temperatures will destroy the oil and create toxins.

The bottom line is to focus on naturally occurring, real whole foods, whether they have fat or not. 

This conversation about fats is especially important to us as chiropractors. Chiropractic is all about supporting optimal brain-body communication and facilitating the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

A body that is inflamed is going to be more sensitive to pain and less apt towards healing. An inflammatory diet leads to inflammation in joints and to joint decay.

Cells that are functioning optimally, because of proper cell membrane fluidity, are going to be better communicators, which supports the ability of the nervous system to coordinate healing.

We want to see you get the best out of your chiropractic care. To get the best healing, you need to support your body with essential nutrients that allow for proper function.

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