Fat Fact #1: Your Hormones Need It
Being a child of the 90's, I can thank the low-fat fad for contributing to most of my health issues today. Yep, those thyroid issues, extra weight and PCOS I've battled? That's because I didn't give my body what it needed to support healthy cell structure or make necessary hormones. Those fats I eliminated ultimately starved me of the hormones I needed! And, who knew my cells wouldn't even let thyroid hormone in to do it's job without fats? Thankfully, I've learned a few things since then!
Like, we actually need cholesterol. I know, I know....I hear you.... "could you BE any more crazy?" But the truth is, in the last few decades we've learned that without cholesterol, we can't manufacture steroid and sex hormones like Estriol (estrogen), Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA, and Pregnenolone (a precursor to other hormones). Let's not forget Corticosteroids, which the body needs to mitigate the effects of stress AND they help protect the immune system. And this is just naming a few!
We need a balance of LDL and HDL Cholesterol because they both serve different purposes. The keyword here is BALANCE... too much cholesterol and we could find ourselves in estrogen dominance...too little cholesterol is associated with anxiety, depression and even an elevated risk of cancer.
Probably a lesser-known fact related to all this fat-hormone stuff is the role that carbs and sugars play. Did you know that the less fat a person eats, the more they consume carbs and sugars on average? That's because fat actually makes us feel full. Now, I don't know about you, but when I feel the munchies coming on, I go straight for that bag of chips or the pint of ice cream lurking in the freezer (at least, I used to). That increase in carb and sugar consumption ultimately sets off a roller-coaster of hormonal fluctuation, including insulin and cortisol!
So what's a girl to do? Fortunately, we can eat our way toward balance! Healthy fats in healthy quantities will go a long way in supporting hormone health.
Choose foods with a higher Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid content, like pastured eggs, grass-fed beef, raw nuts, sprouted seeds and wild-caught fish like Mackerel and Salmon. AND I'm a huge fan of avocados and good ol' Uncured Bacon!
But, none of that manufactured stuff from a box or that comes through a window. Remember... UNrefined is the name of the game when it comes to what you put in your body!