You’ve likely been told for may years that FAT is bad. The truth is, there are 2 kinds of fats that actually keep your body healthy! Like Omega 3’s: These poly unsaturated fats reduce inflammation. The result is clearer arteries, lower blood pressure, and less pain from arthritis and headaches!
“Bad” fats such as trans fat and saturated fat (found in processed food, and, in smaller amounts, red meat and whole-milk dairy) increase your risk of certain diseases like obesity, stroke and heart disease.
“Good” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats have the opposite effect. They provide energy, reduce inflammation, improve blood cholesterol levels, stabilize heart rhythms, and play a role in the production of estrogen, testosterone, vitamin D and other important compounds your body needs.
Five sources of “good” fats
1. Oily fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines
Rich in Omega 3 (a polyunsaturated fat), these fish are delicious as well as healthy. They have full-flavored flesh and need just a dash of lemon and sea salt if grilled. Canned versions provide an extra boost of calcium if you eat the soft bones.
2. Seeds and tree nuts
Flax, hemp and salba seeds are high in omega-3s, while almonds and walnuts boast monounsaturated fat. All are easy to add to meals and snacks. Stir a spoonful of seeds into your smoothie, yogurt or cereal or incorporate them into baking recipes. Almonds and walnuts can be tossed into any salad. Almonds cook well too, and adding a handful is a delicious way to beef up vegetarian dishes like stir-fries.
3. Olive oil
Olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fat. A bottle (choose extra-virgin for the best quality and flavor) should be in every cupboard’use it to make homemade salad dressings and to flavor steamed veggies.
This fruit is another great source of monounsaturated fat. Mash it with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and you’ve got guacamole (add diced onion, chopped tomatoes, and garnish with cilantro and jalapeno for added oomph). Or add sliced avocado to a salad or sandwich.
5. Dark green veggies like Broccoli, Spinach and Kale
Eaten regularly, these veggies provide plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re great lightly sauteed with olive oil and garlic, or can be added to soups and casseroles.
“Good” fat in good portions is a dieter’s best friend
Although good fats are beneficial, you can definitely get too much of a good thing’at least if weight control is a concern. So as with anything in life, moderation is key!
Although fats like the ones mentioned above are healthy, it’s important to watch portion size. This is because fat has more than double the calories of carbs or protein, gram for gram. While there are nine calories in a gram of fat, a gram of carbs or protein contains only four calories, so you get much more volume for the same amount of energy.
It’s important to watch nuts. Fifteen almonds is a good portion size for a snack, totaling 100 calories and nine grams of fat.
Fat also helps you absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, the so-called fat-soluble vitamins. Fat also fills your fat cells and insulates your body to help keep you warm. The fats your body gets from your food gives your body essential fatty acids called linoleic and linolenic acid.
The upshot: include healthy fats in your diet. But as with anything, don’t go overboard. When it comes to healthy eating, moderation is always key!