Healthy fat. Seems like a contradiction, right? I know that’s what I thought when I first set out to improve my diet. Before I purchased something from the grocery store, I had to double check how many grams of fat were in each serving. And I still do. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements for products to burn the fat, trim the fat, and lose the fat. So can fat also be healthy?
The first thing I had to educate myself on was the fact that there are several different kinds of fat. They are what I like to call – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The good fats are the dietary fats that provide the body with energy and support important bodily functions. For example, some vitamins must have fat to dissolve and nourish your body. The bad fats are the dietary fats, along with cholesterol, that contribute to heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as obesity and possibly cancer. The ugly fat – that is the fat that our bodies make from taking too many calories. Let me just say that me and fat have been together for some time now, and while I love each and every roll, it has got to go! This is why I’m doing Insanity right now!
Back to the subject at hand, the good dietary fats can promote a healthy body and healthy hair – from the inside as well as the outside. I use oils and butters, or products that include them, to seal moisture into my hair and skin. Two of my favorites are grapeseed oil and olive oil. These are not only great for providing nourishment for our hair and skin when applied topically, but are also healthy fats that can be used in our foods with some great benefits. They both contain the healthy fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Healthy fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, keep hair healthy and shiny. The essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6’s) and linolenic acid (omega-3’s), are particularly important. It ensures adequate oil production from the sebaceous glands (keeping hair pliable). I know this is extremely important for me with my kinky coily hair texture. The more pliable my hair is, then less breakage I experience. Foods rich in omega-3 fats include fish such as salmon, mackerel, red snapper, and tuna, as well as flaxseed and walnuts. Avocados and olive oil are rich in monounsaturated fats, which also contribute to shiny hair. I love fish, and these are some of my favorites. I feel the need to make some salmon cakes as I’m writing this article
Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that they may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes. High cholesterol and type 2 diabetes are very prevalent in my family history, as with many African-Americans. While I do not have high blood sugar, I do have high cholesterol which my Mom passed down to me along with her signature walk and stunning good looks (thanks Mom) so eating healthy fats is something I am very mindful of to help combat it.
Isn’t it great to know that fat can be good for you after all? So you don’t have to run from all fat. Just the bad…and the ugly