In terms of the food we eat, we already know what our cells need but with the mixed messages we get in our daily lives, it’s worth revisiting. Here’s a recap of what & why:
For good digestion there are many other really important things to consider eg:
No refined sugar mentioned… nope, our cells just can’t use this stuff! And no additives, preservatives, chemicals etc.. Our cells will tolerate this ‘foreign fuel’ or toxins for awhile, then… one day they’ll just start ‘breaking down’, we might develop headaches, lethargy, or even a digestive disorder or chronic disease.
Cram the good stuff in and without thinking about it you’ll naturally stop eating the nutrient dead stuff – do it – you’ll surprise yourself.
This description just scrapes the surface of our beautifully complex digestive system and how to get out motors runnin’.
The important thing is, ‘we are not only what we eat – but what we digest (absorb)’…
Two great references for improving digestive health are:
Jordan Rubin, ‘restoring digestive health’ or ‘the makers diet’ and Elizabeth Lipski, has written a number of books specifically on this topic. There are many others…
Natural, unrefined fats of all types are a critical nutrient for our overall wellbeing. It’s worth noting that not all oils and fats are created equal.
Heavily processed, hydrogenated, ‘trans’ fats and oils that are used in prepared, packaged foods such as margarines and potato chips, can be extremely damaging to the body. While ‘acting’ like fat in our cellular structure, they do not behave in the same way.
However, fats and oils from whole foods and other high-quality sources can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels in balance, feed our hungry brains, nourish our skin, hair and nails and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly.
Our bodies also need fat for insulation, particularly in the colder months, and to protect and hold our organs in place.
Every cell in our body requires fat to help give rigidity and optimum performance. For example our cells and our brains are comprised of approximately 50% saturated fat. Adding healthy fats into our diets can transform our mood and our mind health, quickly brightening our day.
Fat soluble vitamins need fat to be absorbed eg Vitamins D, A & K. There are many great reasons for including good fat at each meal. Magnesium, a nutrient many of us are deficient in, needs saturated fat to be absorbed.
A healthy percentage of high-quality fat in a meal satisfies and leaves feelings of energy, fulfillment and warmth.
When there are excess fats and oils in the diet or they’re not been metabolised efficiently, especially heavily processed and refined or vegetable oils, symptoms can include weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, liver strain and an overall feeling of mental, physical and emotional heaviness.
Signs of insufficient high quality fats are brittle hair and nails, dry skin, hunger after meals and feeling cold.
There are many sources of healthy fats and oils:
When selecting oils, buy the highest quality organic products you can afford, since cooking oils are the backbone of so many dishes.
Good words to look for on the label are organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin and unrefined.
Avoid expeller-pressed, refined and solvent extracted.
A bit about coconut
Coconut is a highly nutritious food, it is very high in Lauric Acid (the saturated fatty acid).
This type of fat is easily absorbed by the human body and used instantly as energy.
There is research showing it can have a positive effect on cholesterol.
Dr Bruce Fyfe has written a couple of books on it, eg ‘Coconut Cures’.
A parting thought
Improving your wellbeing may not be as simple as consuming more fats! Are you absorbing this wonderful nutrient in the first place? For example a ‘congested’ liver and/or gall bladder will mean fats are inefficiently absorbed and you may actually feel a bit ‘heavier’ eating more healthy fats. In which case, support your liver health first and foremost.
Cholesterol has had a bad wrap for too long. Is it really the villain of human health? I turned to a book I read called, ‘Fats are good for you – and other secrets’ by Dr Jon Kabaras’.
Dr Jon Kabaras research and career began in 1948. He dedicated most of his life (over 50 years) to studying fats, specifically lipids.
He was decorated with many achievements including, ‘leaders in American Science’, ‘world’s who’s who in Science’, ’20th Century Award for Achievement’, to name a few.
Quite simply, this guy knew his fats.
Here are some of his quick facts on Cholesterol:
And, cholesterol acts as part of a protective mechanism against blood vessel injury. The increase in serum cholesterol may be an attempt by the body to heal a previous injury, and not the cause of the injury. (Cholesterol is also know as natures repair substance, used to repair wounds).
With these critical functions can cholesterol really be cast as the culprit in the epidemic of heart disease and poor human health?
The initial cause of vascular damage is the million dollar question. Activities such as poor diet, stress, infection, free radical damage (eg fluctuation in blood sugars), smoking or other factors may be the first thing to consider. Before taking steps to lower cholesterol with medication, consider diet, lifestyle or environmental factors first – thereby treating the cause rather than the symptom. Allow your body the chance to do what it does best, to heal naturally and perform even better for the long term.
Dr Kabaras’ simple bottom line message is that all natural fats are good when eaten in moderation and balance. He gives us something (or a lot) to think about.
As with everything, question, be curious and take responsibility for your own health, no one else cares more about you than you.
The reference: ‘Fats are good for you and other secrets, how saturated fat and cholesterol benefit the body,’ Jon Kabara, PhD