There was a time when fats were demonized. Food companies tried to come up with as many fat free products as possible. It was an unhealthy trend because extra sugar was added in foods to compensate. But on top of that, it became unhealthy because healthy fats were avoided for a long period of time.
Avoiding an entire important food group can have devastating effects on health. The importance of healthy fats for reducing PMS and getting back to having healthy cycles is often forgotten. These benefits also extend out to PCOS, endometriosis, and infertility.
An overview on fats
Sadly, the low fat trend created a fear of all fats. Dieters are under the false impression that eating fats will make them fat. So, here’s a science lesson in a few sentences.
Healthy fats have a ton of functions in the body. This includes reduction of inflammation, quick recovery, production of some of the components of our blood, being a building block for hormones, boosting our metabolism, and cancer prevention. They are also important for the health of cells, skin, and the brain.
Unhealthy fats, on the other hand (like trans fats), don’t have as many roles in the body. Both healthy fats and unhealthy ones can be stored in the body to be broken down as energy. However, because the healthy ones have so many other roles to fill, the body doesn’t tend to store them in our fat cells.
In simple terms, unhealthy fats are the ones you should avoid, such as fried foods. Missing out on the healthy ones, on the other hand, leads to a host of issues.
Healthy fats and PMS
Anytime we consume food products that contain shelf-stable vegetable oils (like crackers, or peanut butter that looks uniform), or meats that have not been raised organically, we take in unhealthy fats.
These unhealthy fats encourage the body to produce inflammatory molecules in the body. Let’s call these molecules PG2 (short for prostaglandin 2). Healthy fats, on the other hand, produce two categories of molecules in the same family. They produce PG1, which is an anti-inflammatory molecule. They also produce PG3, which has the purpose of blocking PG2.
Let’s put this in hockey terms. PG1 is the forward or the centre on your team. It does what you need in order to “win” or feel better. PG2 is the other team, who tries to score against you, or create inflammation. PG3 is the goalie on your team, who focuses on not letting the bad guys score, or blocking PG2.
PMS is the result of inflammation in the body. It’s usually a symptom of other health concerns like digestive issues and/or adrenal fatigue. So, reducing inflammation in the body by providing it with an important nutrient is a crucial part of helping PMS.
Healthy fats are also needed to produce our sex hormones. These are the hormones that tend to be out of whack in people who experience PMS (read more about these hormones here). An increase in infertility has been observed over the last few decades, coinciding with the low fat trend.
When we don’t provide the body with the building blocks that it needs to carry out its functions, said functions begin to falter. As mentioned earlier, PMS is symptom of other health issues. It’s the body’s way of saying that something isn’t working right.
Eating more healthy fats
Great sources of healthy fats include olives, coconuts, and avocados. Nuts and pure nut butters are also loaded with fatty goodness. The same goes for seeds and seed butters. Animal sourced fats can also be healthy, when sourced organically. This includes meats, eggs, and oily fish.