Why you should add healthy fats to your diet every day.
When it comes to dieting and eating healthy, it’s common to see fat as the enemy, but the truth is, not all fats should be forbidden.
Healthy fats play an essential role in the wellbeing of your body, but knowing which ones to eat can be a little tricky.
We’ve created this post to help you get a better idea of what fats are good to go and what ones are a hard no!
Why do we need fat in our body?
Not only does fat play a role in insulation to keep your body warm in cold temperatures but it is also an essential part in nutrient absorption and energy.
Healthy fats are also important for healthy muscle functions including your heart; however, consuming too many bad fats can lead to heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol.
The battle of the healthy vs unhealthy fats!
What are healthy fats?
You can find good fats naturally in fruits such as avocados, nuts, seeds and animal meats (proteins).
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are another name to describe the good (healthy) fats. Extra virgin olive oil consists of 75% oleic acid, which is a type of monounsaturated fat.
High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) supports your body with good cholesterol.
Polyunsaturated fats have double or multiple bonds and usually found in pork, fatty fish and certain oils. They do contribute to low-density lipoprotein, but you have to eat them in moderation.
In addition, Vitamins D, E, A and K can only be absorbed when eaten in the company of fats so as you can see, fats are vital for health and well-being.
What are unhealthy fats?
Trans fats and processed fats are the ones to watch out for as too much of that can cause serious health concerns. Cheap, fast fats are available in many convenience foods such as fried foods, chips and takeaways.
Conversely, some manufacturers remove all the fat from foods but then replace that with carbohydrates and sugar, which is an unhealthy replacement.
Too many calories from carbohydrates and sugar can lead to diabetes as it affects the way your body produces insulin.
Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad cholesterol that causes arteries to clog. This later leads to plaque buildup inside the arteries of the heart as well, which then reduces blood flow and oxygen to the organ. As a result, it may lead to high blood pressure, stroke and even heart failure.
Should you increase the fat intake of your diet?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, society has been conditioned to steer far away from fats as they were led to believe that fat is bad for their health. In recent years, a massive health movement has debunked the “high-carb, low fat” diet completely and now we know that sugar is far worse for your health than fat ever will be. You actually require fat in your diet for bodily function, you should ensure that you include healthy fats daily.
Foods containing good fats
Walnuts are rich in Omega 3 fatty acid and can help to lower bad cholesterol. Walnuts are also rich in antioxidants, and it also helps to promote a healthy gut.
Almonds, pecans, cashews, and pistachios are packed with nutrients, low in calories, and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
Olives and olive oil as mentioned earlier are high in monounsaturated fats making them super healthy for your heart and overall health.
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6. Therefore, if you don’t eat fish, this is another great source of Omega 3. Ground flaxseed is also good for digestion as it contains high levels of fibre. Flaxseed oil may also reduce inflammation and help to improve heart health.
Fish such as trout, salmon and sardines are rich in Omega 3 fatty oils, which is better for your heart as opposed to consuming more red meat. Red meats are rich in saturated fats, so, if you do opt for red meat, simply go for lean cuts.
As opposed to the other types of chocolate, dark chocolate is brimming with antioxidants. Dark chocolate also contains Vitamins A, B, E, calcium, fibre, iron, zinc. Choose dark chocolate with a high cocoa content for maximum benefits.
Eggs are rich in vitamin B and have high amounts of choline (a compound that when together with vitamin B, it helps with brain and muscle function.
Cheese and Full fat yoghurt
Cheese is rich in calcium and contains Vitamin B12. It can benefit your bones but also contributes to the good health of your brain and nervous system.
If your body responds best to a dairy-free lifestyle, then avoid cheese but be sure to eat a well-balanced plant-based diet to ensure you obtain enough calcium and Vitamin B12.
Yoghurt is rich in vitamin D, calcium, and probiotics, so it helps keep your bones strong and assist the beneficial bacteria in your body to promote gut health.
Avocados are rich in vitamin E, C and K, Omega 3, all of which your body needs to help keep your immune system strong and your hormones functioning correctly.
Fats that should be avoided
Processed fats containing hydrogenated oils and trans-fats should be strictly avoided.
Some examples include:
- Baked goods such as crackers, crisps, cakes, muffins etc.
- Hydrogenated oils
- Poultry with skin
- Palm oil
- Vegetable shortening
- All oil fried foods
Trans fats (trans fatty acids) are fats created through hydrogenation. The process converts saturated fats (found in natural foods like coconuts and palm oil) into trans fat. It’s done because manufacturers want to increase the product’s shelf-life and create an illusion of great-looking food.
However, this terrible solution has already negatively affected millions of people’s health causing heart disease and other conditions.
Add healthy fats into your diet
Consume healthy fats daily while avoiding processed foods that are high in unhealthy fats. You can start by adding healthy oils in your kitchen pantry, in this way; you’ll automatically cook with healthy oil each time.
Eat full-fat products such as avocados, full-fat plain yoghurt, and whole eggs for example. Eat olives, cheese, and avocado as food toppings.
Including nutrient-rich fats will complement a plant-based diet filled with high-quality proteins, nutrients and vitamins.
Don’t be afraid of fats as the human body requires fats for optimum functioning.
When it comes to oils and even the good fats, it’s always important to remember to eat in moderation. Hence, you should create a healthy balanced diet that has a bit of everything in it for each day.
Protein, fats and plants containing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants should be part of your daily intake.