Fat is not a dirty word—it's a kind of macronutrient that's often misunderstood. Instead of cutting fat from your diet in an effort to get in shape or amp up your athletic abilities, for example, you may want to consider increasing your intake. That's according to MindBodyGreen's Matt Scheetz, who writes that fat comes in a variety of forms, and your body needs healthy fats in order to function at its best.
"Fat is way more important when it comes to muscle building than you might think," he writes. Dietary fat is much different than cosmetic fat on the body, though the two are often confused. Fat is a compound made up of lipids (fatty acids) that work to store energy, build muscle, and balance hormone levels. Not all kinds of fat occur naturally in the body, so you have to incorporate it into your diet in order to reap these benefits.
It turns out that eating fat helps the other foods you eat become more nutritious. This is because the fatty acids from omega-3, -6, and -9 found in healthy fats like salmon, walnuts, and avocados allow the body to use excess fat for energy. If you're not giving your body enough fat, vitamins and minerals can pass through your system without being absorbed. When healthy fat is absorbed, HDL (the good kind of cholesterol) will increase in the body, creating the testosterone necessary for producing amino acids that help build healthy muscle mass.
It's important to remember that fat is still higher in calories than other macronutrients, so you'll want to be sure to incorporate healthy fats into your diet in moderation. As always, balance is key.
Head to MindBodyGreen for the full story, and find out the three-ingredient breakfast a Harvard physician always eats next.