The 40plusandalliswell guide to fats and oils - Part 2 - benefits

A couple of weeks ago we looked at some things to consider when choosing fats and oils. Please see 'The 40plusandalliswell guide to fats and oils'. This week we will look at the benefits of including them in your diet- note I am not talking about saturated fat or transfats in this blog post.  

I may surprise you with the first benefit - some oils in your diet can help you stabilise your weight or even LOSE weight.  How can this be?  Oils have around twice as many calories as carbs and proteins. It is because some oils, such as coconut oil can affect metabolism in a beneficial way.  This is not what was once thought. I can remember diet advice that suggested cutting out fats - bad idea.  One way this caused problems was that fats were replaced by refined carbs which can lead to weight gain.  Another way fats and oils help with weight loss is that they increase satiety, that is they keep you from feeling hungry for longer.  This is because one of the ways your body signals to your brain that you are hungry is through a dip in blood sugar.  Fats and oils in the diet however slow the release of glucose into the blood stabilising blood sugar levels.  This leads onto the next benefit  ….

‘Good’ oils in the diet help prevent type 2 diabetes by helping stabilise blood sugar  - see above. If your ‘good’ fats and oils are eaten with fibre this slows down the release of glucose into the blood still further - think nuts and seeds. However saturated fat and transfats are associated with insulin resistance.  As we have seen above also ‘good’ fats can help prevent obesity which is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Another benefits of ‘good’ fats and oils in your diet is that they help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins  - A, D, E and K.  Vitamin A keeps your mucus membranes healthy and is essential for good vision.  For the benefits of vitamin D. Please see 'Bring on the sun- Vitamin D- the sunshine vitamin'. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps protect cells from damage including damage from pollutants.  Vitamin K has benefits for blood clotting.

Certain fats are also good for heart health.  Whereas saturated fat can cause damage to the heart arteries by causing inflammation, oils such olive oil, the oils in nuts and seeds, avocados etc can reduce inflammation in the body. Some oils such as coconut oil lower LDL cholesterol (the 'baddie that leads to arterial plaque) and raise HDL cholesterol (the 'good guy').

Similarly oils protect the brain by reducing inflammation in the body.  The brain is in fact 60% fat and fats in the diet play a role in learning and memory.  Fat deficiencies have also been linked to depression.  The type of fat is again important as saturated fat or trans fat can lead to arterial plaques that, when severe can lead to restricted circulation to the brain. This can lead to impaired brain function and even stroke. Eat nuts, seeds, use coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. Stay healthy

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