Remember back in the day when no-fat and low-fat was all the rage while fats (even those found in healthy foods like avocados and nuts *gasp*), were blacklisted? Those days are long gone, and in fact many health experts actually link the emphasis on the avoidance of fats to our obesity epidemic. Thank goodness the tide has turned. Contrary to the old popular belief, the right types of healthy dietary fats such as those found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, or in other words - a whole foods, plant-based diet - will not lead to excess weight storage and in fact are absolutely necessary for proper brain and nerve function, for hormone production, for satiation after meals, for the absorption of important nutrients, and yes, even for staying slim. Fats also play a critical role in our body's lubrication system, whether that's our joints, or the natural oils that our skin produces to keep us looking healthy, hydrated and glowy. Not sure if you're getting enough essential fats in your diet? Here are 5 signs that your body might be experiencing as a result of a fatty acid deficiency.
1. Hunger After Meals
Eating adequate fats at mealtimes helps ensure that we stay feeling satiated for longer periods of time. If a meal is properly structured with the right ratio of carbs-fat-protein for your own unique needs, you'll feel more satisfied with less calories and your blood sugar will be more stabilized for longer periods of time. This is really good news if you tend to get hungry shortly after eating, or deal with cravings for sugary sweets and carbs.
2. Dry Skin, Hair, and Nails
Oils act as the body's natural lubrication. The skin secretes its own oil, by means of the sebaceous glands, to act as a lipid-based protective barrier against environmental toxins and potential hazards, and to also seal in vital moisture. A lack of oil in the diet, or eating the wrong types of oil (such as hydrogenated oils found in many packaged foods), can absolutely affect the skin's oil composition and production. These oils are what give the skin that healthy, dewy glow, keep the hair shiny, and the nails and cuticles from cracking.
3. Hormonal Imbalances (such as loss of period)
The body needs fats in order to produce and regulate hormones - in fact certain hormones such as steroid hormones are actually derived from cholesterol. If our hormones are in balance, we typically feel amazing and energized. Hormones influence pretty much everything going on within our bodies, and a hormone imbalance can cause a domino-effect of health issues. Fatty acids are key.
4. Mental Fatigue or Brain Fog
The brain is actually the "fattest" organ in the body - it is made up of 60% fat. If you're not getting enough essential fatty acids, the brain is one of the first areas of the body to suffer. Various neurological abnormalities can ensue from problems concentrating, focusing, or remembering things, to mental fatigue and that "brain fog" feeling. None of which is fun.
5. Nutrient Deficiencies
Certain key nutrients, such as Vitamins A, D, E and K, are fat soluble, meaning they need the presence of fats in order to be properly absorbed. The body even directs us on what ingredients to pair with others based on how they taste together. Most of us wouldn't consider sitting down to eat a bowl of kale, a dark green leafy veggie loaded to the brim with Vitamins A and K, without something like olive oil to dress it up with. Fats help diffuse the bitterness of greens making them much more palatable, and it turns out way more nutritious. The body knows best.
Of course with everything diet related, getting variety is key. We recommend a balanced and varied diet, plant based and organic, with a rich supply of raw fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and sprouts. One of our favorite ways to get a boost of healthy fats is through our Dastony butters. These unique butters are freshly stone ground in small batches at room temperatures and very minimal friction is produced. This slow, low temp grinding process ensures the volatile oils within the nuts and seeds don't oxidize or go rancid, for the ultimate benefit to your body. The flavor is also amazing!