It is well past the time to step out of the low-fat, “fat is bad” mentality. For decades, we were told that fat is unhealthy and eating fat will make you fat or raise your risk of heart disease. As a result, people (women especially) have limited their fat intake, which can have a detrimental effect on the body.
Fats are one of the macronutrients required for a balanced diet, and needed to perform many functions in the body. Some functions include temperature regulation, hormone production, energy storage, protection of vital organs and nerves, and composition of cell membranes. They are also responsible for chemical reactions that help control growth, immune function, reproduction, and metabolism. Another important function of fat is to transport fat soluble vitamins in and out of the cells.
The type of fat matters
There is good fat that promotes an anti-inflammatory state and bad fats that create an inflammatory state. Since fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, D, and K work to quell inflammation, anti-inflammatory fats like olive oil, grass-fed or pastured butter, avocados, and coconut oil are ideal additions to your vegetables. Vegetable oils like corn, soy and canola are are likely to be genetically modified, high in glyphosate, and often found rancid – making them inflammatory.
Fat soluble vitamins. What do they do? Why do we need them?
Fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K) require dietary fat to be adequately absorbed/distributed throughout the body. Cell membranes are very selective about what they let in and out, and fat molecules are slippery guys who slide right in, carrying along with them Vitamins A, D, E, and K (think of them as vitamin hitchhikers). Once in, they enter the body’s general circulation and are carried on dietary fat vehicles called chylomicrons, which act like a UPS truck, delivering nutrients to cells and tissues as it goes along. They eventually ends up at headquarters – the liver.
Each fat soluble vitamin plays an important role in the body and can be found in a variety of dietary sources.
Vitamins A, E, and K are readily available in a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, dairy, and pastured animal products. Vitamin D is obtained from the sun and processed in the skin.
A: Vitamin A is a key player in vision, immune health, growth and development, infant mortality & red blood cell production.
D: Vitamin D is essential for maintaining normal calcium metabolism, healthy bones, a strong immune system, and proper insulin secretion.
E: Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals, has anti-oxidant properties.
K: Vitamin K regulates blood clotting, assists in calcium transport and is essential for bone health. K1 is found in plants; K2 is produced by bacteria in fermented foods.