We all need healthy fats in our diet. This is true for all children, especially those on the autism spectrum because their brain is growing so rapidly and is in such need of its protection. Cells are made of fat, and the brain is 60 percent fats so make sure you are eating enough of the right kinds. The key is to eat the good fats and avoid the bad ones.
Many people have come to fear anything with fat in it. The diet industry says to avoid all fats. This is false information. We need fats in out diet. The important part is what kind of fats. There are good fats that are vital to feeding organs that need them such as the brain. Without the right kind of fats in our diet our brains will not be able to function properly and can even be harmed.
There is such a thing as good healthy fats. In fact, good healthy fats are essential to our health in many ways. Good fats like saturated/animal fat and polyunsaturated fat from fish oil is best. They assist the brain, strengthen the immune system, and reduce inflammation. They also assist in mood stability.
One essential or omega 3 fatty acid is the component DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). It is particularly important in brain health, synapse health, assisting the brains circuitry, and in its ability to function. Several studies have shown low levels of DHA fats to increase depression and that increasing its intake relieves it. (Weidner, Conner, Conner and Hollis, Improvements in hostility and depression in relation to dietary change and cholesterol lowering. Annuals Internal Medicine 117(1992):820-823.)
Mother’s milk contains 50 percent fat, mostly saturated fat. Brain development relies on saturated fat and cholesterol. Why would the American Heart Association begin recommending low fat and low cholesterol diets for children? It’s just plain wrong. Many baby formulas are also low in saturated fat. Avoid these products. One study has shown failure to thrive in children with low fat diets. Just be sure to give him the right fats and not the wrong ones.
Animal and vegetable sources of saturated fat provide sustained energy, building blocks for cell membranes, hormones, and other chemical processes in the body. They also assist in the absorption of the necessary fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Monounsaturated and saturated fats are best. Too much polyunsaturated fats are bad. Some good healthy fats are found in butter, fish (contaminant free), avocados, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and olive oil.
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