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Your skin is a reflection of your health inside and out. If you want to have naturally glowing skin you’ll need to have a healthy, balanced diet.
In this article, I'll explain why you need to eat fats for healthy skin, how much is enough, and what kind of fats we should have in a balanced eating plan. I'll talk about proteins and carbohydrates in future articles.
For years, health experts told us that a low-fat diet was the gateway to health. All fats were the enemy, linked to obesity, and cardiovascular and other diseases. We now know that healthy fats don't make us fat.
Fat is one of the three macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and protein, that our bodies need to function at optimal levels.
The good fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. They help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
They provide us with essential fatty acids (EFAs). Essential means we must get them from our diet as our body does not manufacture them. EFAs support our brain function and the healthy growth and development of our body.
The fats to avoid are trans fats and saturated fats, (bad fats). These fats are in processed and packaged foods. They have undergone a chemical process (hydrogenation) to extend their shelf life.
Essential fatty acids protect your heart, keep your skin and hair soft and supple, lubricate your joints, protect your nervous system, and protect cell membranes from inflammation. EFAs deliver vitamins A, D, E, and K to your cells and are also are a great source of energy.
EFAs keep your skin hydrated and protect and build the precious lipid layer that surrounds every skin cell membrane. The anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce skin blemishes and irritation.
Remember to eat good fats in moderation. All fats are energy dense at 38 kilojoules a gram. Expert guidelines suggest that 20-30% of your daily energy intake (kilojoules) come from fat, with no more than 10% coming from saturated fat. (See below for how much fat you need each day).
Unprocessed, whole foods contain EFAs and the nutrients that support glowing, healthy skin from the inside out. You'll also lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other lifestyle chronic diseases.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids are building blocks of cell membranes. They help prevent skin dryness and maintain healthy and hydrated skin.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids nourish your skin, are essential for radiance, and add softness to your complexion.
For healthy skin and a balanced diet include fat from both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated sources.
Fat should make up 20-30% of your daily energy intake (kilojoules), with 10% or less from saturated fat.
Estimate your ideal daily energy intake using this handy tool.
Then multiply that number by the recommended percentages to get a daily range of fat kilojoules. Then divide that by 38 (the kilojoules in a gram of fat).
Here's an example based on an 8870 kilojoule a day intake:
How many fat grams is that? There are 38 kilojoules in a gram of fat, so divide the number of kilojoules by 38.
So if your daily energy intake is 8870, your target range for total fat is 46 to 70 grams a day. Of that, saturated fat should make up no more than 22 grams.
In the second article of this 3-part series about macronutrients I'll be sharing some good news about carbohydrates. Join my VIP list below to get it delivered straight to your inbox.