By Sean Ward
A lot of the modern diet-craze has resulted in most of the general population believing that fat is bad for you.
While this is true in some cases, most naturally formed fats are great for the human body. Just like anything, you need to strike a healthy balance.
Today we’re going to discuss why it’s important for you to include healthy fats in your diet. We’ll find out the best sources to include in your meal plans, and we’ll let you know what parts of your body are just dying for a good dietary dose of healthy fat.
So, what makes good fats so important?
Well, if you think about it, a substantial amount of our body is made of fat. The majority of our body is made of water, and we all know how important it is to stay hydrated.
Our brain also consists of substabtial amounts of fat, and following the same logic, it’s very important to get a regular supply of healthy fat.
Healthy fats do more for your body than just ensuring your brain stays in top shape. One of the most important things that healthy fat consumption does is regulate your body’s production of testosterone. We’ll touch on that in a moment.
There are many different types of good fats, and they each perform different tasks.
Polyunsaturated fats include the essential fatty acids, like the omega-3 and omega-6 fats which are well-known for being vital to our health. They`re not known as essential because of their utmost importance in the diet - the term ‘essential’ means that it’s essential we source them in our diet, since our body can’t produce these nutrients itself.
Polyunsaturated fats are great for lowering your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is loose and can travel through your bloodstream, clogging arteries and getting stuck in the endothelium (cell wall) of your arteries. This can lead to infection and diseases like atherosclerosis. These fats also help fight inflammation which can inhibit the growth of muscle tissue.
Unsaturated fats are good for the most part, although trans fats technically fall into the same category. Avoid trans fats, but make sure you get plenty of unsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are technically also in the same family but deserve their own category.
Getting more unsaturated fats can be as simple as trading in solid fats, like butter and margarine, for their liquid counterparts, olive oil and canola oil.
Unsaturated fats also help lower cholesterol levels, as well as preventing diseases of the cardiovascular system such as strokes and heart attacks.
So how do these good fats affect hormonal health?
We’ve discussed some of the ways that healthy fats are good for your body and brain, but we really want to touch base on how these nutrients affect your body’s testosterone levels.
The most important thing to realize is that testosterone is made of fat. Cholesterol, in particular - the good kind (HDL cholesterol.)
Since cholesterol comes from fat, it’s important that you get a good amount of healthy fats in your diet. A recommended figure is to get at least 20% of your dietary intake from fats.
Any less than that and your body will respond by limiting the production of testosterone so it can use the fat for other purposes.
Another reason why good fats (especially from fish) can help to increase testosterone production is because they have been shown in studies to be anti-estrogenic and can reduce SHBG levels in the body.
Monounsaturated fats are also of interest because they help your body maintain its blood sugar at a healthy level. This is important because blood sugar problems can lead to diabetes, and diabetes affects testosterone levels.
What are the best sources of healthy fats?
Now that you know how important it is to keep healthy fats in your diet, we’re going to tell you the best ways to do that. Below are the most important foods that can supply your diet with healthy fats.
Salmon is one of the best sources of polyunsaturated fats you'll ever find. If you don’t like salmon, you can opt for fish oil, but remember - you won’t get the heaps of protein that you would if you were eating quality whole salmon. This is an extra benefit that salmon provides more than these other foods.
Avocados are one of the best organic, vegetarian sources of polyunsaturated fats. Avocados also contain high amounts of monounsaturated fatty-acids which have been proven to increase testosterone production. You can easily incorporate these into your diet in dozens of ways - it’s pretty hard to mess up an avocado.
Olive oil, coconut oil, and other healthy oils such as flaxseed or sunflower oil are all tremendous sources of polyunsaturated fats. You can do your cooking with coconut oil instead of canola, replace the butter on your toast with flax-seed oil, and use olive oil on salads. This is an easy and delicious way to hugely increase the level of polyunsaturated fats in your diet.
We’ve established that it’s important to get a healthy level of good fats in your diet. Not only do these fats have an enormous impact on the function of your brain, they also ensure your cardiovascular and hormonal systems function properly.
One of the most important things to know about healthy fats is that our body uses them to produce hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. If you don’t have enough healthy fats in your diet then your body won’t be able to produce the proper hormones it needs for you to live and thrive. Balancing these fats in your diet isn’t too hard - it just takes some knowledge and dedication.
Sean Ward is the Founder of Naturally Boost Testosterone, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing natural ways for men to boost hormone levels. Check out www.naturally-boost-testosterone.com to learn more about Sean and his work. You can also find him on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook
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