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The 5 Surprising Benefits of Eating More Fat

The 5 Surprising Benefits of Eating More Fat

With all the different dietary advice flying around these days, how can you even begin to know what food choices to make?

Take fat for example. For years it has been painted as an evil monster and the root cause of high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity. But scientific studies now show that there are many benefits of eating more fat, and it’s time we started rethinking this essential part of our dietary regime.

In short, fat has gotten a bad rap.

In Grain Brain Dr. David Perlmutter describes our ancestor’s diet as being 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs compared to our current diet of  60% carbs, 20% protein and 20% fat. Dr. Perlmutter goes on to explain how the cornerstone of many of today’s health conditions, including Alzheimer’s, ADHD, depression, anxiety and chronic headaches are linked to inflammation in the body and brain triggered by carbs.

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Other studies tell us that the obesity epidemic, which has doubled in the last 50 years, is not because of us eating too much fat but because of our consumption of readily available carbs and sugar, including glucose found in fruits and juices.

Excessive glucose is converted by the body and stored as fat. Gary Taubes in Why We Get Fat  says that “if the world had never invented cigarettes, lung cancer would be rare disease. Likewise, if we did not eat such high carb diets, obesity would be a rare condition.”

So fat is not the culprit it is believed to be. In fact:

1. Fat is essential to brain health

Did you know that brain tissue is made up of nearly 60% fat?(1) A diet low in fat actually robs your brain of the materials it needs to function properly.

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I’m not just talking about the essential fatty acids and omega 3’s that are making all the headlines (fats found in food like salmon, avocados and nuts) but also some of the saturated fats which we have been told for years to avoid, including natural animal fats.

Essential vitamins such as A, D, E and K are not water soluble and require fat to get transported and absorbed by the body. These vitamins are crucial for brain health and many of our vital organs.

Vitamin D is now being widely touted as an important element in decreasing susceptibility to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and other brain disorders and omega 3 is said to sharpen your cognitive function as well as to improve your mood.

2. Fat keeps your lungs working properly

Our lungs are coated with a substance composed almost entirely of saturated fat. Premature babies who are lacking this substance are given something called “surfactant” to keep their lungs functioning properly.

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Without enough saturated fat, our lungs can be compromised. Some studies are now looking at the link between the low consumption of saturated fat and Asthma as a result of the breakdown of this fatty layer.(2)

3. Fat boosts your immune system

Dr. Michael and Dr. Mary Eades in their book Good Calories, Bad Calories write about the role that saturated fats found in butter and coconut oil play in immune health stating that the “loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in the white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi”.

4. Fat keeps your largest organ healthy

Fat makes up the bulk of the cellular membrane and our skin is made up of a very large number of cells. Without the proper consumption of fat, our skin can become dry and chapped, which can also open up pathways for infection to enter our bodies.

5. Fat is good for your heart 

Many studies have been done on the benefits of eating saturated fats, fats we have been told to avoid for the last 50 or so years. One study in particular focused on a population in the Pacific Isles who eat up to 60% of their diet in the form of saturated coconut oil and have shown practically no incident of heart disease.(3)

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Also, fat provides twice the caloric energy as carbs 9 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram. So not only will it sustain you energy for a longer time but will also help you to eat less as it keeps the body satisfied.

But stay away from trans-fats. These are the true evil monsters made by adding hydrogen atoms to saturated fat during the heating process. These manipulated fats do nothing but make bad foods last longer on the shelf.

So grab a handful of walnuts, enjoy a piece of salmon cooked up in some olive oil and butter and add a little coconut oil to your morning smoothie. Start shifting your diet today, and get those good fats back into your diet.

1. Chang CY1, Ke DS, Chen JY.Essential fatty acids and human brain.Chang Neurol Taiwan. 2009 Dec; 18(4):231-41CY1
2. Black PN1, Sharpe S. Dietary fat and asthma: is there a connection? Eur Respir J. 1997 Jan;10(1):6-12.
3. Kaunitz H, Dayrit CS. Coconut oil consumption and coronary heart disease. Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine, 1992;30:165-171

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Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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