Fat is an essential part of our body and consuming enough healthy fats is vital to our cellular and hormonal health. However, decades of misinformation about the healthfulness of fats has made folks steer clear of nourishing fat-rich foods. The truth is eating fat doesn't make us fat.
Every cell in the human body requires cholesterol for structural integrity and healthy functioning. When we deprive the body of healthy fats it can lead to poor absorption of nutrients and feeling chronically low on energy.
WHAT KIND OF FATS SHOULD I BE CONSUMING?
Full fat milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream is the way to go. The deal is, when we buy fat free or low fat options it’s typically replaced with sugar to compensate for flavor. No fat means no flavor so you’ll generally find more sugar in foods with the fat removed. And when it comes to dairy, buying organic whenever possible is best.
Here are some other examples of foods high in healthy fats:
The avocado is different from other fruits. Most fruit contains primarily carbohydrates. Avocados are loaded with “the good kind of fat.” The oleic acid, potassium and fiber make avo’s an excellent source of fat.
This includes fish like salmon, trout, cod, tuna, mackerel and if you can stand it sardines. These are all loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high quality proteins and all sorts of important nutrients. Research shows that people who eat fish tend to be healthier, with a lower risk of heart disease, depression, dementia and other common diseases. If you’re not into fish for whatever reason then taking a fish oil supplement can be useful.
Best news for cheese lovers! Cheese (in moderation) is actually incredibly nutritious. It is a great source of vitamins, minerals, quality proteins and healthy fats. I find that adding cheese into salads or in an egg scramble is a great way to boost fat intake or if we’re having friends over going big with the whole cheese board is an easy win ;)
Nuts are high in healthy fats and fiber, and are a good plant-based source of protein. Healthy nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts and so many more!
- Chia seeds
Chia seeds are generally not perceived as a "fatty" food. However, about 2 tablespoons of chia seeds actually contains 9 grams of fat and the majority of the fats in chia seeds consists of the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- Organic virgin olive oil
Out of all the healthy fats and oils in the diet, extra virgin olive oil is the king. Olive oil is packed with monounsaturated fats (the healthy fat) and has positive effects on cardiovascular health. In addition to good quality fat, it also contains vitamins E & K and is loaded with antioxidants.
- REAL grass fed organic butter or ghee
Despite having been demonized in the past, real grass-fed butter is one of the healthiest fats we can cook with on the daily. That yellow brick of fat sitting on the counter is packed with omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, vitamins A, D and K and CLA’s (conjugated linoleic acid). Studies have shown that a diet high in conjugated linoleic acids actually functions to fight against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
WHAT KIND OF FATS SHOULD I BE AVOIDING?
Trans fats. The primary dietary source for trans fats in processed food is “partially hydrogenated oils." Trans fats can be found in foods like baked goods, frozen pizza, crackers, stick margarines, fried foods and vegetable oils. The problem with trans fats is that it raises the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lowers the good (HDL) cholesterol levels. When possible, avoiding foods high in trans fats is best. Doing so will decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.