Eat Fat. Be Healthy

STACK Expert Kait Fortunato outlines four surprising benefits of eating healthy fats.

Healthy Fats

When reading nutrition labels, it's best to look at the types of fat, not just the amount. Certain foods are healthy fats. They have a high total fat content because they are full of omega 3 unsaturated fats, which happen to be excellent for the body. The omega 3 fats can be found in nuts and nut butter, fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, and olive oil, avocados and flax, to name a few.

The fats you should be keeping low are saturated fats, which have negative effects on your heart health.

4 Surprising Benefits of Healthy Fats

1. Fat makes your nails and hair strong

Fats are responsible for the health of every cell in your body. They help nourish the follicles surrounding your hair and nails, making them grow full and strong. Fat also helps you digest fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamins A, D, E and K, which are necessary for hair growth.

2. Fat helps keep you full

The fad 10 years ago was to completely cut out all fats. Now we know that including a source of healthy fat at every meal can help with satiety, because fat takes longer to digest and stays in the stomach longer. If you feel full, you're less likely to overeat and more likely to maintain a healthy body weight.

3. Fat regulates hormones and aids muscle production

Essential fatty acids are converted into hormones that regulate the uptake of amino acids into the muscle cells. Another important hormone related to fat intake is testosterone, which is especially important for men to build muscle.

4. Fat can help lower inflammation in the body

This is especially important for athletes who work hard day after day. Fats work by inhibiting an enzyme, cyclooxygenase, which produces hormones that spark inflammation. (source)

Here are some tips to get more healthy fats into your daily intake:

  • Add ground flax to your smoothies in the morning.
  • Instead of mayo, top your sandwich with sliced avocado.
  • Keep nuts in your school bag for an omega-3-filled healthy afternoon snack.
  • Eat fish once or twice a week.
  • Cook with olive oil instead of butter.
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