Four signs you need more healthy fats in your diet
We are living in a time of hangover. A hangover of noble ideals and half science. The 2000s were about low-carb and the 90s were all about low-fat. As athletes, there is no question we need carbs - just the right kind at the right time to maximize endurance and performance. The same can be said of fats. Many diets are missing Omega 3 fatty-acids. With 20 years of hindsight, research shows the detrimental impact of low-fat products (increased sugar and salt) and mis-informed diets on North American society. In the intervening years while low-fat processed products have flooded the market there has been a steady increase in obesity. The cultural shift away from fats means many people aren’t getting what they need - and certainly not from the best sources. You should never cut back on Omega 3 fatty acids.
The most important Omega 3s are EPA and DHA which are found primarily in certain cold water fish like salmon and sardines (but this has to be balanced keeping in mind toxins sometimes present in fish such as the mercury and PCB levels). Choosing a fish oil supplement, like Garden of Life Cod Liver Oil, may be the route you want to take. Another important fatty acid, ALA, is found in nuts and seeds. Quality sources include walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed, avocados and hemp hearts. Other plant-based sources are chlorella and spirulina.
Signs your body is missing healthy fats and how Omega 3 fatty-acids can help
- Dry flaky skin - Your skin can be the canary in the coal mine. If your skin is no longer soft and supple despite drinking plenty of water, you may not be consuming enough fat. Fat plays an important role in your skin. Omega 3s and 6s support your skin cell membranes. Surface moisturizing can help but creating the best cells will help the prevent the problem in the first place.
Difficulty focusing - Your brain is mostly made up of fat. Omega 3s can help maintain optimal brain health. Healthy fats line nerve fibres - sort of lubricating the pathways to allow messages to move faster. Including omega 3s can increase concentration and reduce mental fatigue.
Mood swings - Omega 3s support serotonin production, which is one of the main hormones that make us “feel good.” If you are feeling stressed, our bodies crave carbs to promote serotonin. Supplementing with an Omega 3 can help level the playing field and help your body respond to stress with fewer hormonal fluctuations.
Compromised immune system - It is well known that Omega 3s serve an anti-inflammatory function, which can reduce immune system flares but studies also show that Omega 3s help support white blood cells. This support improves and helps create a more efficient immune system response.