It got such a bad rap in the 80s and 90s. Luckily more and more people are catching onto the fact that fat is actually your friend and can contribute to everything from:::
Proper brain development
Increased feelings of joy and happiness (read: less depression!)
Reduction in chronic disease
Optimal absorption of fat soluble vitamins and minerals
Not to mention it makes our food taste better and it keeps us fuller longer! Um yes, I’ll have some extra avocado and a little extra Kerry Gold, please and thanks!
Lets talk about the several different kinds of fats:
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs)
Heart healthy and help to raise good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. Think of your vegetable oils, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs)
These are fatty acids that encompass your omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are considered “essential” fatty acids, meaning we have to get them from outside sources because our bodies do not make these types of fats. “Omega-3” is somewhat of a buzzword in the health and wellness world because they are insanely important for optimal health. Omega-3s reduce inflammation body wide, support heart health, reduce cancer risk, and help alleviate symptoms of depression. Get your omega-3 fatty acids from tuna, mackerel, salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. Go light on the Omega-6 fatty acids because too much Omega-6 to Omega-3 is pro-inflammatory. And since the Standard American Diet is already very high in Omega-6 fatty acids, we really don’t need to go out of our way for more of these. Omega-6 fatty acids come from corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil.
**the Omega-3 : Omega-6 ratio is beyond the scope of this post, but if you’d like more info on it, leave me a comment and I’ll do another more in depth post soon!**
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and have a higher propensity to contribute to obesity and cardiovascular disease. These include your butters, lards, margarines, and dairy products. Enjoy these in moderation. Coconut oil is a plant based saturated fat that contains lots of beneficial components such as lauric and caprylic acids. And contrary to some stuff you may have heard about coconut oil, it is NOT detrimental to your health and does not cause an increase in your “bad” cholesterol
And then we have the Trans Fats… (gasp)… yes, that dirty word that needs to pack it’s bag and go far far away. Trans fats are artificial fats that were created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Sounds Frankenstein-ian right? It is. They raise your “bad” serum cholesterol while lowering your “good” serum cholesterol. They contribute to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and likewise increase risk of cardiovascular disease. These are the nasty, harmful fats that absolutely live up to their bad name. Be afraid. Be very afraid. These are found in baked goods, fried foods, snack foods, and many processed/packaged foods. When you read your food labels (and you should be reading them!), if you see the words “partially hydrogenated”, rest assured you are about to buy a food that has trans fats lurking there.
Fat is an important part of a balanced, nutritious diet. As you figure out what works for your beautifully unique body, just remember that it’s important to consider your physical activity and state of health when determining your body’s needs.
WAYS TO GET GOOD FAT INTO YOUR LIFE:
- Avocado toast
- Avocado on my salad
- EVOO based salad dressing
- Flax seeds/chia seeds in my morning smoothie
- Flax oil on my greens in the evening
- Hemp seeds on my salad
- Coconut oil in my smoothie
- Kerry Gold butter
- Tallow to cook with
- Handful of nuts 1-2x/day
- Coconut yogurt with berries and flax seeds
What are your favorite ways to get good quality fat into your diet?
Love to all on this Sunny Sunday!