These days everybody seems to worry about the intake of fats and that this will cause high cholesterol, heart disease, and weight gain. Both Ayurveda and modern science embrace that healthy fats are necessary to maintain a healthy body, stay well nourished and feel satiated.
The word for oil in Ayurveda is ¨Sneha¨, which has another meaning in Sanskrit terminology namely love. Ayurveda considers oil to have a beneficial aspect of physical and mental health. Fats help one to stay grounded in the mind, stay calm and anchored. Physically speaking good fats are important for bodily processes such as the assimilation of food, the storage of food and the digestion of food. Certain fats are easier digestible and immediately turn into fuel, which increases metabolism. This consequently aids in promoting weight loss. Further fats are the building blocks of the hormones, nerve tissues, and the brain. We need fats to function in this society to carry out our daily tasks.
Research has shown that Mediterranean countries have by far most the lowest heart disease incidences in the world. These countries consume a lot of fats including olive oil, seeds, whole milk, and dairy products. This can motivate us to actually have a look at the quality of the fat rather than taking it out completely. Let’s have a closer look at the healthy fats:
Vata does very well benefit from saturated fats such as ghee, coconut oil (in summer), full-fat yogurt (middle of the day), and organic whole milk (especially with the use of spices). All three Doshas can use ghee, Kapha however in moderation. We wrongly understood that saturated fats are bad for us. The mother milk is full of saturated fats, how this can be bad for us? it is indeed very nourishing.
These fats are liquid at room temperature, whereas saturated fats are solid. Vegetable based fats such as sunflower oil, canola oil, and extra virgin olive oil can easily burn and produce free radicals. These oils should be used after cooking or at room temperature and not heated too much.
These fats coming from chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and wild-caught salmon are said to promote rejuvenation, improvement of mood and wellbeing and enhance memory, focus, and learning.
We have the bad fats which are the industrial ones, the ones from processed meat, ice creams, fried or fast food, anything that has fats and doesn’t come from the raw food materials, is better to completely avoid them.
Hormones & Cholesterol
In order to have balanced hormones, it is important to notice that the healthy progesterone is also build up from the adipose tissue. Progesterone acts like the yin that balances the yan, nourishing, building, caring, providing ojas and pleasure. The yin calms us down. Like with everything in life, we need the right amount in order to find that balance. So we need fats for our sex hormones to find the equilibrium related to the stress hormones. The oleation (Sneha) is also needed in order to nourish and pacify our nerve system. This is one of the reasons why new diets free from all kind of fats bring healthy imbalance, stress in the body and mind and irregular hormone functioning.
When we eat emotionally there is a sign of imbalance in our nerve and hormonal system. There is nothing better than healthy fats to satisfy the cravings and calm down our brain functioning. Modern medicine is also showing studies that lower cholesterol levels lead to less longevity. Especially people above 60 years old, the more cholesterol the more longevity. The cholesterol is an indispensable molecule for our lives. All the membranes from our cells have cholesterol, otherwise, they will not be able to keep the matter inside. The cholesterol is part of the biliary juices needed in order to digest the fats and thanks to the sun, through the skin is able to create vitamin D, and from it all the hormones and suprarenals can be nourished, estrogens, cortisol, progesterone, etc, so it is crucial for our health.
People with less cholesterol commit more suicides, suffer from depression and deal with dementia more frequently. When a person has high levels of serotonin, doesn’t even think of taking his life away, they are happy and their mood is more stable. The lipoproteins that transport the cholesterol are molecules, there are two types; HDL (also called good cholesterol, we can find it in eggs) and LDL (also called as wrong cholesterol). What we need to clarify is that there is no wrong cholesterol since there are just molecules.
LDL can harm us only when it comes from refined sugars, industrial foods or food with high glycemic indexes. Then we will probably develop or face the problem of having a fatty liver that can be decompressed as a balloon creating a visceral mass, a more pronounced belly. Actually, people with pronounced belly have the indication that probably they have a higher amount of LDL and its particles are being harmed and they can end up being accumulated in the arteries. If a person is thin and has no belly, doesn’t eat industrial or processed food, but has high levels of LDL (example 300), there is no problem, actually has more chances to arrive at the 80s with more mental lucidity. The normal parameters would be from 150 to 330, depending on the country.
The advice in relation to Fats and glucose
Ayurveda looks at every individual and their metabolic rate. So make sure you know what kind of type you are and what amount of fat works best for you. This will help you to choose the right fuel in terms of food for your Agni to be burned properly and to aid you in losing weight. If Agni is not ready to receive food, then there is no sensation of hunger. See if you can connect with that and only eat when the body is ready to digest food.
If you eat fat together with glucose, the body will pull the glucose with energy and the high insulin will accumulate the fat. So the trick is to avoid this combination. eating fats alone, or without glycemic food is a better way to assimilate and not store the fats, your system will use the energy but will not store it. The industrial sugar from processed food converts cholesterol into something bad for our organism. That sugar doesn’t make us feel satisfied and is addictive. This creates an overload of work to the liver, which after long term can be turned into a fatty liver.
The foods that have additive and sweeteners sold as a healthier option as light, without sugar they can also harm us in a different way. Our microbiota flora remains in starving mode since they are not natural nutrients easy to metabolized and since they keep us unsatisfied, our brain keeps requesting to our body something sweet, so the craving for sugar remains there.
This blog post was written by Julia Blohberger from www.juliablohberger.com and adjusted by Lola Peña
We hope you do not exclude healthy fats into your diet!