Do you avoid or limit the ONE food group that could remarkably improve health… FAT?! The anti-fat revolution of the ‘80’s, when all fat was deemed bad and fat-free was the craze, continues to leave its negative mark. Many of my clients find it challenging to “trust” the current research… that FAT will improve health, hormones, gut, and waistline! Yes, salmon, nuts, and avocado are great choices … but having more variety and liberal amounts are important. So WHY is fat necessary? And WHICH fat is best? Here are just the basics.
The Basics & What You Should Choose
First, fat contains key nutrients (depending on the type) such as omega 3 fatty acids (wild fatty fish, walnuts, flax), glutathione (avocado), zinc (nuts/seeds/meat), medium chain triglycerides (coconut oil)….and so much more!
Second, fat and protein are necessary at meals and snacks to feel full and help regulate blood sugars and hormones. However, all fat is not created equal! The “good” fats have an extremely positive impact on the body from hormone regulation, to improving gut health, lowering cholesterol, calming chronic inflammation, and even aiding in weight loss. These are essential fatty acids; fats that our body can’t produce. Eating them is “essential” for the body to function ; monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 and omega 6’s), and saturated fats (once discarded as “bad”). I work with clients to help discover the right amount and variety of good fats to meet specific needs and achieve optimal health outcomes.
Healthy Fats to Include:
Monounsaturated Fats: Cold-pressed oils (extra virgin olive, avocado, peanut), avocados, olives, nuts (almonds, cashews, macadamia, pine, and peanuts)
Polyunsaturated Fats (Omega 3 & 6): Cold pressed oils (grapeseed, flaxseed), fatty fish (salmon, tuna, herring, trout, sardines), nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts), and seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia, hemp, flax)*
Saturated Fat: coconut, egg yolks, organic poultry, grass-fed local beef, clarified butter (ghee)**
*Encourage organic oils, organic pastured raised eggs and raw nuts
Fats To Avoid/Limit:
Processed foods with “partially hydrogenated oils and trans-fats”; specific Omega 6’s such as soybean, corn, or canola oil; fatty meats; and high fat processed dairy products.
**Exception would be ghee shown benefit the gut
Note: I discourage canola oil due to poor stability and the fact that canola is among the top 5 genetically modified (GM) foods (organic is difficult to find)!
HOW you cook with oil is important, otherwise you could miss out on the benefits and hurt your health!
How Healthy Fats Impact Inflammation:
The scientific literature is clear that healthy fats can calm chronic low grade inflammation. This is one reason why fish oil is often recommended for arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disease. Fats are turned into important molecules called prostaglandins that either increase or decrease inflammation in your body.
Start today to ADD more good “fats” to your daily routine…and cut back on sugar and refined carbs.
My favorites: avocado in wraps and smoothies, coconut oil to make eggs, walnut oil drizzeled on salads, homemade dressings with EVOO, nuts and seeds galore!
Don’t miss – “Fall Flavorizers” – quick recipes to add healthy fat!
Share your experiences and recipes! Julie 🙂