Healthy fats are pivotal to achieving optimal wellness. Monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts) and polyunsaturated fats (Omega-6 and Omega-3) have a tremendously positive effect on your health, when eaten in moderation. Omega-6 (sunflower oil, corn oil, safflower oil) and Omega-3 (salmon, flax seeds, walnuts) fats are called “essential” fatty acids (EFAs) because our bodies need them, but cannot manufacture them. Therefore, we need to get these fats from our diet. They are extremely beneficial in reducing cardiovascular disease, inflammation, diabetes, depression, ADHD and cancer. Specifically, Omega-3s are known to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and those pesky wrinkles we all get from aging!!! Here’s a few ways to incorporate more healthy fats into your diet:
- Eat more nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are a great addition to your meals. They can be added to salads, used as toppings for protein dishes (think almond encrusted salmon or chicken) and stir fries, sprinkled on oatmeal or even made into a vegetable and hummus wrap. In addition, nuts and seeds make a great portable snack that can be eaten with your favorite fruit. You can also spread almond butter on whole-wheat crackers, rice cakes, an apple or celery.
- Make your own salad dressing using olive oil, flax seed oil, pumpkin seed oil or Udo’s oil. Just add a little vinegar, lemon and seasoning, and you’re good to go!
- Add healthy fats to your smoothies, in the form of oils, (flax, coconut), nuts (walnuts, almond butter) and seeds (flax, chia).
- Eat more Omega-3 rich fish, such as salmon, herring, sardines, lake trout or tuna. You can also take a fish oil supplement. Nordic Naturals is my favorite! If none of these are appealing to your palette, make flax seeds or flax seed oil a staple in your diet.
- Choose Omega-3 enriched eggs. When cooking at home I use one egg (the good fat is in the yolk) and two egg-whites to make a vegetable omelet, which generally has a tendency to accidentally turn into a scrambler ;).
- Use Udo’s Oil. I had the privilege of spending some time with Dr. Erasmus Udo at a health conference I attended this past summer and he has created the perfect blend of Omega-6 and Omega-3 EFAs. I highly recommend you try his fabulous oil, which is easily available at any Whole Foods or local health food store.
- Limit saturated fats (cheese, animal fats) and avoid trans-fats (fried foods)!!!