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When it comes to nutrition, there’s a lot of noise out there. When there is so much information to sift through, we often go for the shortcuts. We cut out what we’re told is “bad” for us and load up on what we’re told is “good,” without looking further into what that means. We want you to be able to make lifestyle decisions based on knowledge and confidence, not pressure! So starting this week, follow along with us to learn about an often villainized food group, fats. What are they, what is their role in the body, and how can they help you live your healthy best?
A: Fats are super important for your health and happiness! Fatty acids (what we commonly refer to as fats) are one of the three macronutrients that the body needs to ingest in order to properly function. For instance, every one of our trillions of cells require fats as an integral part of the cell membrane. The right fats let nutrients in and wastes out of the cell. They are also required for proper communication between cells. We make over 200 billion new replacement cells every day, all of which require healthy fats to make their membranes super functional.
That’s just one of their many roles. The body requires them for manufacturing sex and stress hormones, maintaining your brain, regulating blood sugar and pain response, immune system functioning, controlling inflammation and carrying fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K. They are also an excellent energy source, once you’ve used up your carbohydrates.
A: A good rule of thumb is to eat happy, healthy whole foods that naturally contain fat. Plant foods like nuts (including coconut), seeds and avocados are excellent sources. If you partake in animal foods, remember that animals are made of what they ate, just like us! Animals eating their natural diet will be a source of healthy fats. Wild, free range or grass fed meat, dairy, eggs and fish can all provide excellent fats for your body. Extracted oils or fats like flax oil, walnut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, tallow or lard can all be beneficial to add to meals or cooking. Keep in mind that they can handle different cooking temperatures, though.
Avoid altered fats in any form. Trans, modified, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats don’t fulfill the jobs the same in our cells. Avoid damaged fats – read your food labels carefully. Heat, light and oxygen can cause damage, depending on the fat’s molecular structure. Overheating, storing in clear bottles, and just being around for too long can cause good fats to go bad. Use and store your extracted fats and oils properly.
Since 2005, Angela Wright has been preaching the benefits of whole foods nutrition to whomever will listen. With her focus on root causes and habit modification, collaborative work in supportive cancer care, and teaching comprehensive understanding to her students, Ange is awesome at sleuthing and putting together the big picture of a client’s health picture. Compliance is much greater when you know the ‘whys’! Find her at www.alignnutrition.com and @alignnutrition on Facebook.
The information provided herein is for informational purposes only. The products or claims made about specific nutrients or products are reviewed and evaluated by Organika based on available scientific evidence on its initiative. Such applications, however, have not been specifically assessed by Health Canada. Organika makes no guarantee or warranty with respect to any products sold, and shall not be responsible for any indirect, inconsequential and/or special damages for the reliance on or use of any information contained herein. This information is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or another medical professional. You should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease but should always consult your physician.