Why you Need Fat for Optimal Health- Part 2: The Benefits

Now that you have learned about how fats are digested in Part 1, you are probably curious about which kinds of fats to eat, and what they can do for your body. First of all, cholesterol is absolutely essential for optimal nutrition. It is what makes up the bile that you need to emulsify fat and in turn get rid of fats and the toxins that become bound to them in the body.

Not every food contains cholesterol do, though. In fact, only animal foods contain cholesterol. Good choices include pasture or humanely raised eggs with the yolks, coconut oil, grass fed butter or ghee, which is clarified butter, fish, heavy cream are in fact super-foods (R)! They are full of the fat soluble vitamins we need to feel good and thrive!

Dr. Weston Price demonstrated this himself when he went around the world studying the indigenous tribes, looking for a common denominator related to why disease was skyrocketing in the modern world. Meanwhile, the health of those in indigenous tribes was as good as ever. Price sought out to find what was keeping them so healthy while our rate of tooth decay, an early indicator of poor health, was running rampant at the start of the 1900s. What he found was that not one single tribe was able to thrive without eating some kind of animal fat and animal protein. That’s right, what all of the indigenous tribes had in common were that they all ate plenty of fat, encompassing anywhere from 30-80 percent of their entire diet! Weston Price was actually disappointed not to find a vegan culture that thrives. Still, this discovery was monumental for the field of real food nutrition. In addition, these long living tribes also fermented, sprouted, soured or soaked all of their grains and legumes as well as nuts and seeds. So basically they had an old fashioned, organic, properly prepared, nutrient dense diet.

One important component that makes animal sources of saturated so essential is something Weston Price coined as “Activator X”, now known as Vitamin K. It is is fat soluble, so it requires properly digested fat in order to be absorbed in the body. Vitamin K interacts with Calcium and Vitamin D in a very delicate balance. Together, Vitamins D and K, both found in butter might I add, prevent calcium and other minerals from going into places it is not meant to go, like the joints or in the arteries. This kind of arterial plaque leads to a major cause of heart disease in the US, known as atherosclerosis (R). This step is often the fatal last step in heart disease because of the hard mineralization in soft tissue where it doesn’t belong(R). Now I know you have been told that cholesterol is the main offender for this buildup of plaque, we will get to that shortly.

Price found that the self proclaimed vegan tribe in Africa was eating animal protein in the form of insects on the plants that they ate. Lucky for them, because this supplied this tribe with a necessary source of omega 3’s.While it is often said that we don’t need omega-3’s in animal form, it has been shown that the conversion from ALA to EPA and DHA only convert at a rate of approximately 2-10%(R). These are the some of the very most essential fats well being, especially to brain health and cognitive function! EPA and DHA have shown to help with depression and other cognitive disorders including schizophrenia and autism(R). Of course, it is vital to get plant sources of fats as well, it is all about balance and the quality of the fats. Raw, sprouted hempseed, chia*, pumpkin* and flax seed, fish and coconut are all great inclusions to keep a good balance. Ideally, it is good to have a 1:1 ratio of omega-6’s to omega-3’s. Most peoples’ ratio of this are much higher because of all of the vegetable oil in our foods. So it is definitely a good idea to avoid oils like safflower canola and soybean. All of those are processed from before they are seeds to your saucer of food, in a way that makes them unrecognizable as food by the body, especially canola. If I see canola oil listed as an ingredient in any product I will not spend my money on it. It wreaks havoc on the body and does far more harm than good as it is unfit for human consumption (R).

It’s important to know that we need cholesterol to make every single cell in our bodies. Fat is what creates the outer membrane of every cell, it’s kind of like what skin is to us, lipids are to each one of our cells. This is where prostaglandins, the body’s anti-inflammatory chemicals are made. NSAID’s get in the way of this process by inhibiting not only inflammatory prostaglandins but also the anti- inflammatory ones too. Fish oil is much more effective and supportive of our biological processes than aspirin or any of those drug type anti-inflammatories.

So needless to say, any drug that depletes a person’s body of vital cholesterol is setting them up for disaster. These drugs are known as statins, which will deplete the body of essential CoQ10. CoQ10 is very important for the heart and other vital organs because it supports their ability to function(R). This kind* combines the nutrient specifically with an herb called hawthorn that has found to be great for supporting heart health. Does it sound like a good idea to anyone with heart complications to deplete that muscle’s ability to literally function? Of course not.

Statins have also been linked with depression, suicide and aggression. This is asserted in Dr. Campbell-McBride, MD’s  book entitled Put Your Heart in Your Mouth (p 18). This makes sense since we need fat and especially cholesterol to make our hormones and to build our brains! For instance, steroids and sex hormones are synthesized from fat. Fat is required for healthy cell to cell communication, so it facilitates all of the good feelings we have. This is all pretty simple to understand but perhaps your medical doctor has forgotten about anatomy and physiology after countless board meetings ran by pharmaceutical company representatives.  It is becoming common knowledge that MD’s receive kickbacks for selling these and other drugs. The corruption goes right down to the scientific academia(R). This explains why we have been told the lie that fat is to blame in the first place. The sugar industry also played a part in paying off scientists and our government to tell us that it’s all saturated fat’s fault. It is important to note here that a quarter of all cholesterol throughout your entire body can be found in the brain(R).

This also relates to what you may have been taught about saturated fat and heart health.  As noted in the book Put Your Heart in Your Mouth by Dr. Natasha Campbell- McBride MD, found inside the arteries of deceased heart attack patients, is none other than, polyunsaturated fat. You read that right, polyunsaturated fats have been found to make up 74% of total fatty acids in plaque (Campbell-McBride  p 38). For anyone who doesn’t understand the propensity of this, its akin to an episode of Scooby-Doo if they unmask the villain it ended up being Velma or Freddy.We have been taught throughout our entire lives that polyunsaturated fats and vegetable oils are the “good guys” for heart health and weight loss. This could not be further from the truth in practice.

Vegetable oils, or polyunsaturates, are the most heat labile of all the fats, so they should never be heated or exposed to light and must be minimally processed. Saturation is actually what makes fats more or less stable. Monounsaturated fats are fairly stable in heat, which saturated fats are the most stable and safest to cook with. When you take a heat labile polyunsaturate, such as canola oil, and combine it with heat, these fragile fats turn from -cis to trans-fats in your oven, fryer, what have you. You probably know how bad trans-fats are for heart health, which is very true. This is why they legally must be limited in food products now. So, drinking whole milk and eating cheese has not led you to atherosclerosis; the french fries deep fried in virtually indigestible canola oil have. And finally people are beginning to see this, with increasing popularity of the ketogenic and paleolithic diets; which are really just whole food based lifestyles that minimize processed and refined foods and go back to the diets we have successfully enjoyed as humans for thousands of years. So, fats are important, they are in fact the last thing you should be avoiding for any reason.If any food is to blame for heart disease and obesity, it is sugar and refined, processed foods; but I’ve never been a fan of the blame game.

Heart disease was not an epidemic until the advent of highly processed foods. In fact, before around the 1950’s, there were no such emergency services as 911 ambulatory services. So when people started dropping like flies after consuming an abundance of donuts filled with hydrogenated fats, trans fats and sugars of all sorts, there were no ambulances to pick these poor people up and help them. This is the way that 911 actually came about. It was not lard and bacon that caused this, but the Frosted Flakes and packaged who knows what that created the need for this emergency service.

So,  for those who aren’t allergic, whole raw grass-fed, preferably organic dairy is a fantastic source of saturated fats, rich in GLA and some omega 3’s. Otherwise, pasteurization and homogenization oxidize the fat, leading to inflammation and irritation which lead to allergies. Raw milk can actually be tolerated well by many previously thought to be lactose intolerant. With homogenization and pasteurization come oxidation(R), and oxidized fat has been shown to lead to “deleterious cardiovascular effects” in humans and animals(R). Pasteurization also destroys the precious enzymes and nutrients that come packaged in milk, which facilitate digestion when consumed raw. Nuts and seeds follow the same concept. It is best to buy them raw and minimally processed. If you want them roasted you can do that very easily yourself, including whichever flavors and ingredients suit you. Make sure any polyunsaturates you do consume are cold processed and kept refrigerated in a container that does not allow a lot of light in, otherwise the oils will be rancid and again do more harm than good. Grass fed organic meat and poultry (skin on) are also great sources of necessary fat. If the skin is left off the poultry, it is then delivered to our bodies in a way that is foreign to our ancestry and hence our collective digestion as well. Remember, our gall bladder need enough fat so it can release bile instead of it backing up into our liver, which leads to inflammation and hence disease.

So isn’t it a relief that these foods that taste so delicious can actually be healthful? I know I was incredibly pleasantly surprised to learn this. No wonder I have always gravitated to adding extra Parmesan cheese to my spaghetti. Little did I know I was supporting my blood sugar, immunity and nutrient density with this one small addition (R).

Having lived by these principals along with being gluten free, which might be discussed in a future blog, for the past 4 months and must say I have lost weight effortlessly. I never realized the simple fact that when I consume full-fat, nutrient dense foods, it is easy to stay satiated and I don’t feel the need to  snack. Nature packaged things in the way that it did for a reason. My blood sugar is much more stable than it has ever been. I feel happier, and life just feels freer and more full. Eating more fat has made that much of a difference on my life. Let’s see what it can do for yours.

If you’re curious where you can find the perishable nourishing foods mentioned, near you, I created a page for that which can be found here.

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