Healthy fats are pivotal to achieving optimal wellness and should be included in your daily diet. Many individuals think eating fat makes you fat, but this is an old wives’ tale.
Types of Fats
Monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts) and polyunsaturated fats (Omega-6 and Omega-3) have a positive effect on your health when eaten in moderation. These fats are extremely beneficial in reducing cardiovascular disease, inflammation, diabetes, depression, ADHD and cancer. Specifically, Omega-3s (salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts) are known to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and those pesky wrinkles we all get from aging.
Studies suggest that saturated fats, when consumed in moderation in the context of a healthy whole foods diet, do not cause heart disease or obesity as we once thought. Turns out it was the sugar and refined carbohydrates that are the real culprits. Therefore, one can include butter (not margarine), coconut oil, eggs and grass-fed meat in his or her diet.
How to Cook with Fats
When you are cooking fats, be aware of the smoke points of oils. Grapeseed oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter and ghee (clarified butter) all have high smoke points. Whereas, a fat like olive oil does not. Thus, refrain from grilling with olive oil and use to make a salad dressing or drizzle on vegetables.
Further, avoid cooking and consuming foods containing canola oil, sunflower seed oil, corn oil and soybean oil. These oils are commonly used to prolong the shelf-life of processed foods. Studies now suggest that consuming a high quantity of these oils may cause disease.
You can add more healthy fats to your diet by:
- Eat more nuts and seeds. 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.
- Make your own salad dressing using olive oil, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, walnut oil or avocado oil.
- Add healthy fats to your smoothies, in the form of oils (coconut), nuts (almonds/almond butter, cashews/cashew 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 or eat Omega-3 rich eggs.
Check out the recipes on my blog for healthy fats’ recipes.