Growing up, many of us viewed the ‘fat’ in our food in a negative light. We found ourselves opting for low fat options in the hopes of keeping both our waistlines and our health in check. However, times have changed, and the foods we once demonized are perhaps not the villains we made them out to be. When it comes to our bodies, fats are integral to various facets that pertain to our brain function, energy levels, hormonal balance and even the health and appearance of our skin. But are all created fats equal? What are the benefits for our skin of consuming certain fats? And what are the best sources to obtain this vital nutrient? This can all get pretty complicated, so we’ve compiled all the info you need to understand the role of certain fats in our diet in our skin health…
HEALTHY FATS AND SKIN HEALTH
Are all fats created equal?
The short answer is no, not all fats are created equal. This means that there are different types of fats that we can consume that will affect our bodies in different ways. For instance, often when we talk about fats in a negative way, we are speaking about trans fats. Trans fats can be found in foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil such as fried foods like doughnuts and fast food, vegetables spreads like margarine and processed snack foods. Trans fats can raise our levels of LDL, otherwise known as bad cholesterol, and suppress our levels of HDL, otherwise known as good cholesterol. Trans fats can also lead to inflammation in the skin and body, which can damage our cells and cause a myriad of issues. Contrastingly, fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are considered polyunsaturated fats as well as mono-unsaturated fats are crucial for our overall health and particularly our skin.
Why does our skin need healthy fats? What are the benefits?
Good fats are essential for our skin health, providing a plethora of benefits. If you find yourself with constant dry and dull looking skin, a diet lacking in healthy fats could be the culprit. Healthy fats can help to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized. Mono-unsaturated fats along with poly-unsaturated fats help our skin retain hydration by producing and facilitating our skin’s oil barrier, which helps with skin radiance and anti-ageing. Having a strong and healthy skin barrier is also essential to protecting our skin and our body’s overall wellbeing, so it is crucial to consume an adequate amount of these healthy fats. Additionally, healthy fats can help reduce inflammation in our skin. Inflammation can be a super-villain when it comes to skin, contributing to endless skin problems including acne, eczema and even psoriasis. Furthermore, healthy fats can promote and support cell growth in the body that can heal and repair our skin. This is vital, as our skin cells need a variety of nutrients in order to be able to grow and function properly. Having efficient skin cell growth and production can certainly improve the appearance of our skin, particularly when it comes to acne and ageing, as it can help the skin to heal faster as well as shed dead skin cells and replace them with younger cells, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Where can we get healthy fats from?
We know that healthy fats are important for our skin’s health and appearance, but which foods should we eat to ensure we are getting enough of the right fats? When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, these can be found it foods such as oily fish, like salmon and sardines, nuts and seeds, like flaxseeds and walnuts, as well as edamame and seaweed. Some omega-6 fatty acid rich foods include avocado, olive oil, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
So, when it comes down to it (healthy) fat is your friend, especially when it comes to our skin. It’s time to ditch the preconceived ideas we might have once had and start to consider our skin health as something that starts from the inside.