Everyone is so scared of fat in every sense of the word. Getting fat, eating fat, looking fat.
Well, if you are familiar with intuitive eating, you probably already know these concerns are not health-promoting.
We’re taught to fear fat and calories, but they provide the fuel we need to live. The calories from fat provide long-lasting energy and adequate body fat. Did you know that fat protects our organs? Fat surrounds the kidney, heart, liver, intestines, and other vital organs so that they’re not easily injured. Fat is needed for hormone regulation. Hormones, or chemical messengers, are important for growth and development, brain health, metabolism, fertility, and even mood. So, adequate fat consumption is needed for all of life’s functions.
[If you are not familiar with intuitive eating, find more info here in this article, What is intuitive eating?]
As you move forward on your intuitive eating journey, it may even be helpful to find out the benefits of some added fats in your diet.
Yes, fat can be good!! One type of fat, omega-3 fatty acids, can be particularly helpful for a variety reasons, especially for women* going through menopause.
The article today shares how this type of fat can be helpful to you!
*Note: I am using the term “women” in this introduction to refer to any individual with female anatomy, or who undergoes the process of perimenopause and menopause with diminishing levels of estrogen. I want to acknowledge people who may not identify as female but who go through these physical changes, and they will be referred to as *people* in the article which was guest-written by Kimmie Singh, MS, RD.
How omega-3 fatty acids can help during menopause
By: Kimmie Singh, MS, RD
Here are a few things you may not know about Omega-3 fatty acids:
- Omega-3 fatty acids are known to improve heart health, which is a particular concern for those who are menopausal.
- Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease triglycerides, reduce blood pressure, and reduce the overall risk of developing heart disease. They can also help to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
- Omega-3 fatty acids may also be helpful for those experiencing depression and depression symptoms. This may be a special interest to those undergoing menopause because the hormonal fluctuation that occurs throughout menopause can make you more likely to struggle with depression.
- Omega-3 fatty acids may also have a role in improving overall cognitive function among menopausal people. This may help clear up that overall brain fog that many people are familiar with. There is even research suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce hot flashes (if that doesn’t sell you on omega-3s, then I don’t know what will!).
How much Omega-3 fatty acids are recommended?
People experiencing menopause should aim for consuming at least 1.1 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day. Your total intake should not be over 3 grams per day. If you consume over 3 grams per day, you may have some stomach upset and other negative side effects.
What foods have Omega-3 fatty acids?
Some foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed oil.
If you don’t like these foods, you can try some fortified options. This just means that omega-3 fatty acids were added to these foods during the production process. Some foods that are sometimes fortified with omega-3 fatty acids are milk, eggs, yogurt, juices, and soy drinks.
If you are having trouble consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, you can try a supplement. I usually recommend the brands Nature Made, Nordic Naturals, or Kirkland because they are all third party tested. This is important because the FDA does not regulate supplements, so this extra independent testing process ensures its quality and safety.
In conclusion, don’t underestimate the power of added fat. Sometimes the pressure on people experiencing menopause may increase their desire to pursue weight loss or try to limit the fat in their diets. But there are times when fat will help you, especially during menopause.
I hope that the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids can encourage you to let go of your fear of eating more fats.
If you want to learn more about nutrition that helps during menopause, click here and grab a copy of my ebook, Nutrition for Menopause.
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
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