Oiling the Tin Man: Why Healthy Fats Are So Important

by Eloise Nelson

avocadoWhen I think of stiffness and inflammation, the image of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz comes to mind.  What he needed was a little oil and a healthy heart to keep him going strong.  Adding the right fats, fat-soluble vitamins, and increasing specific minerals in our diet, will support a healthy heart and help reduce and relieve the stiffness and pain from which many people suffer.  Obviously, the Tin Man didn’t know about the anti-inflammatory benefits of flax seeds, chia seeds, or almonds for heart health.  If he did, he would have felt a lot better.

The Tin Man lived in OZ and was forced to battle a wicked witch and thousands of flying monkeys.  The demon monkeys you and I battle are all of the unhealthy food choices that fly in our face everywhere we go.

Like a lot of people, I bought into the low-fat/non-fat diet program.  The thought process made sense to me.  Eating fat makes you fat.  So I stopped eating fat, and in a short amount of time, I gained 10 lbs. and felt terrible.  I was hungry all of the time, craved carbs. and ate too much protein.  My joints ached and recovery time from exercise took longer.  I felt like the Tin Man every time I moved.  This scared me, particularly because my family has a history of rheumatoid arthritis.

I started doing research and discovered that the subject of fats had generated some of the greatest confusion surrounding eating a healthy diet.  What I came to realize is the fact that we need specific fats in our diet to be healthy.  Eating the right fats can make you thin!  Most of us have trained our bodies to burn carbohydrates for energy, which does not result in metabolic efficiency.  This is especially true when the diet contains processed hydrogenated fats and carbohydrates (fructose and high fructose corn sugar, HFCS). HFCS increases the appetite, converts into fat (free-fatty acids, damaging cholesterol and triglycerides) and insulin levels soar.  Insulin is a storage hormone and HFCS contains a compound which “locks” fat into tissues and prevents it from being released.  This also results in damaged veins, arteries, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and insulin resistance, which leads to metabolic syndrome and Type II Diabetes.

What I discovered is just avoiding processed food and drinks can take you a long way down the road to improved health and move away from addictive foods that destroy your life.  Including the right fats and carbohydrates in your diet will help you lose and manage your weight, keep your joints lubricated and your heart healthy.

Nuts and seeds provide a great source of essential fatty acids, which is a cornerstone to a healthy dietary plan.

Here’s why:

  • When you eat seeds and nuts, they fill you up quickly, shut down your  appetite, and keep you satisfied for a longer period of time.
  •  Chia and flax seeds provide a good source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids (ALA, alpha linolenic acid), which is built into the structure of every cell wall, providing fluidity so nutrients can easily flow in and waste can flow out.
  • ALA allows cells to communicate easily.
  • Clean burning fats provided in nuts and seeds promote healthy DNA and genetic expression on a cellular level.
  • ALA reduces and balances the amount of inflammatory cytokines in allergies, chronic skin problems, joint diseases, migraines and bowel disorders.  They function somewhat like an aspirin, only in a healthy way.
  • ALA contributes to the production of eicosanoids, which are powerful hormone-like substances that work in the body to support proper functions of the heart and blood flow, healthy regulation of the immune system, strong digestion, proper breathing, fertility and kidney health.
  • Sunflower seeds and almonds are great sources of vitamin E, a wonderful antioxidant which keeps your blood flowing and your heart pumping.  Your blood stream is your “nutritional highway” delivering essential nutrients to every cell in your body.
  • Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of zinc, which supports the immune system and hormonal health of both men and women.
  • Nuts and seeds are excellent food choices if you want to replenish mineral levels as they provide selenium, magnesium, calcium and copper, all critical for bone and heart health.

Nuts and seeds are very healthy dietary options.  The best way to eat them is to either soak them over night and dry them at a low temperature or lightly roast them at a low temperature.

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My favorite way to get these healthy nutrients is to eat Foodie Fuel, which is a delicious seed, nut and super-food based, low-glycemic, low-carb, organic snack.  You can check it out at 

Eloise Nelson, Ph.D. is a Holistic Nutritionist with 35 years of experience in nutrition, natural health care and exercise training; specializing in nutritional and lifestyle education; weight reduction, women’s health care, eating disorders, and substance abuse.  She authored the self-help book, The 14 Day Gourmet Cleanse & Rejuvenation Program (2005) and continues to teach two-week seminars and one day educational workshops on nutrition and food preparation, as well as provide individual consultations. Eloise has been formulating nutritional products for 18 years and is president of Foodie Fuel Inc., which produces a delicious snack line called Foodie Fuel.  www.foodiefuel.com