Think fatty foods only contribute to a pleasantly plump body? A new book debunks this popular myth and tells y... Read More
Think fatty foods only contribute to a pleasantly plump body? A new book debunks this popular myth and tells you why you should be enjoying your olive oil and meat.
Weight loss from eating good fats? Check. Heart disease prevention? Check. Revved metabolism? Check. But the health benefits from eating more of the right fats don't end there! Here's a look at all the other good things healthy fats can do for your body, your brain, your mood, and more...
EATING FAT PREVENTS BRAIN AGING AND DEMENTIA
Low-fat diets have been associated with dementia and higher-fat diets shown to prevent it. In fact, leading Alzheimer's researchers are promoting a very high-fat (or ketogenic) diet for the treatment of dementia.In his paper Reversal of Cognitive Decline: A Novel Therapeutic Program Dr Dale Bredesen, of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, reviews ten case studies where dementia was actually reversed in patients on a very lowcarb, low glycemic, lowgrain, high-fat diet.This is ground breaking. After $2 billion of research and 243 studies over the last few decades on the treatment of dementia with medication, none have shown this level of success. In fact, none of those studies worked except for one, and that one only very slightly. In Dr David Perlmutter's ground breaking book Grain Brain, he also documents the role of fat in the brain.There is an abundance of research showing that carbs cause brain aging and fat prevents it. In fact, some now call Alzheimer's type 3 diabetes because insulin resistance causes brain damage. A study from the Mayo Clinic found that people who eat a ton of carbs quadruple their risk of getting predementia, known as mild cognitive impairment. The same study showed that people who ate the healthiest fats had a 44 per cent lower risk of early dementia, and those who ate more good quality protein from chicken, meat, and fish had a 21 per cent lower risk of early dementia. Another study of more than 8,000 people over the age of sixty-five found that 280 of them got dementia over the span of four years. The researchers looked at the participants' diets and found that those who ate the least brain healthy omega-3 fats had a 37 per cent increased risk of dementia.Those who ate the most fish had a 44 per cent reduction in the risk of getting dementia. Those who ate the most olive oil, walnuts, and flaxseeds had a 60 per cent reduction in the risk of getting dementia.But they also found that those who ate the most omega-6 oils had twice the risk of dementia.
EATING FAT HELPS WITH SEIZURES, DEPRESSION, ADD, AUTISM, TRAUMA, AND MORE
Your brain is 60 per cent fat, and much of it is made of omega-3 fats and cholesterol.
When you eat a lowfat diet, you are starving your brain.
Fat is critical for your brain. Lack of fat in the diet has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases; mental disorders such as depression, suicide, and aggressive behaviour; ADD and autism; stroke; and trauma. On the other hand, supplementing the diet with omega-3 and other good fats has been linked to improvement in all these conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids stimulate beneficial gene expression and boost the activity of your brain cells, increase connections between brain cells, and even help the formation of new brain cells (neurogenesis). They help reduce brain inflammation and improve cognitive function. They can aid depression and even recovery from brain injury. Very high-fat ketogenic diets are used to control epilepsy and are now being used for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and other neurologic disorders, including brain cancer. Bottom line: Fat is good for your brain!
EATING FAT REDUCES INFLAMMATION AND AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
Bad fats such as the omega-6 refined vegetable oils cause inflammation, but good fats reduce inflammation. Omega-3 fats have been extensively studied as a way of treating inflammatory and autoimmune disease.
They modulate inflammatory pathways and help improve expression of anti-inflammatory genes.There have been many studies assessing the benefits of supplementation with fish oil in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases in humans, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus erythemato sus, multiple sclerosis, and migraine headaches.
These studies show great benefits, including decreased disease activity and less of a need for anti-inflammatory drugs. I have found that fish oil supplementation along with a lowglycemic, anti-inflammatory, higher-fat diet that is also gluten -and dairy-free can dramatically help my patients with autoimmune disease. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) has been well researched in autoimmune disease and shown to be effective. It is found in evening primrose oil or borage oil and can be synthesized by the body, but often not very well, especially under conditions of illness. I have used it effectively in combination with diet and other therapies in many of my autoimmune patients.
EATING FAT BOOSTS YOUR SPORTS PERFORMANCE
We have all been trained to believe that if you want to enhance your sports performance, you need to carb-load. Eat that big bowl of pasta before a race to make sure you top up your muscle arbohydrate stores (glycogen) so you don't hit the wall . . . that sort of thing. You can store up to 2,000 calories of carbs as glycogen in your muscles, but the average lean athlete has about 40,000 calories of energy stored as fat. Wouldn't it be great if you could switch from carb burning to fat burning? Many scientists have studied high-fat, low-carb diets for athletes.Two in particular have led the way: Dr Jeff Volek and Dr Stephen Phinney. They have authored hundreds of papers untangling the biology of highfat, low-carb diets on every aspect of physiology -even in extreme athletes who are insulin sensitive and not carbohydrate intolerant. In their books The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance, they go into great detail on how your body can switch from burning mostly carbs to burning mostly fat. This is called keto-adaptation. The key is to keep insulin levels very low. Higher levels of insulin inhibit or block fat burning, making it impossible to mobilize fat stored in your tissues. Drs Volek and Phinney explain the benefits of switching from carb burning to fat burning for exercise:
1. Low-carb( highfat) diets are anti-inflammatory and so reduce oxidative stress during exercise, reduce lactic acid buildup, and help the body recover faster between exercise sessions.
2. Once you adapt to a low-carb diet (which takes about two weeks), your body relies primarily on burning body fat during and between exercise sessions, so you don't have to load up on carbs to restore glycogen levels. You can eat a lot of fat without risk.
3. Endurance and power -or strength training athletes can use carb-restricted high-fat diets and even get better body composition and strength.
I know eating a low-carb, high-fat diet has made me stronger, fitter, and faster even as I've aged. And when I load up on coconut oil, which contains medium-chain triglycerides, which boost performance, increase fat burning, and help build muscle, before a long bike ride, I can go and go without pooping out.
EATING FAT GIVES YOU BEAUTIFUL SKIN, HAIR, AND NAILS
Ever wonder how trainers get horses to have beautiful, shiny coats? They give them flaxseeds, which are a rich source of omega-3 fats. Lack of omega-3 fat in your diet from fish or plant sources can cause significant health problems. Most people slather creams, lotions, and potions on dry skin, put on all sorts of hair products to bring their hair back to life, and use nail products to strengthen their nails, but most of our outside problems come from inside. Omega-3 deficiency can cause dry, itchy, flaky, even discolored skin. It can also cause rough, bumpy chicken skin on the backs of your arms. I know you are checking that now! Your fin gertips may crack and peel. Your hair may be dry, stiff, and tan gled; you may have dandruff and hair loss.
Your finger nails might grow slowly or become brittle and chipped.Omega-3 fats can relieve all of these problems. For some people with really problematic skin, applying a combination of flax and borage oil can have amazing results.
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EATING FAT ENHANCES YOUR SEX LIFE
You might be surprised to learn that your sex hormones are produced from cholesterol in the body. We eat an average of 146 pounds of flour and 152 pounds of sugar per person per year in America, which spikes insulin, driving the storage of belly fat, increasing estrogen in men (belly fat cells produce more estrogen) and sending their testosterone levels plummeting. This leads to low sex drive, sexual dysfunction, muscle loss, loss of body hair, and man boobs! For most men, cutting out the carbs and boosting fats fixes the problem without having to resort to hormone replacement. Low-fat diets can cause women to stop menstruating or to experience irregular, heavy periods and infertility.They can increase belly fat, raise testosterone levels, and trigger acne, facial hair, and hair loss on the head, whereas highfat, lowcarb diets can reverse all that.