Choosing Healthy Fats for Great Health and Fat Loss
Choosing healthy fats in our meals daily can greatly impact our health. In today’s episode we’ll cover everything you need to know about dietary fats, including how to make healthier choices without sacrificing taste.
By understanding the difference between good and bad fats and how to include more healthy fat in our diets, we can improve our mood, boost our energy and well-being, and even lose unwanted body fat, easier.
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.
These fats can help to:
- Lower the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, while increasing good HDL
- Prevent abnormal heart rhythms
- Lower triglycerides associated with heart disease and fight inflammation
- Lower blood pressure
- Prevent atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries)
Food sources include:
- Olives and olive oil
- Raw Nuts and nuts oils: almonds, walnuts, macadamia, pecans
- Raw Seeds and seed oils: Sunflower, sesame, pumpkin seeds, Flaxseed
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
- Soybean and safflower oil
Artificial trans fats are considered dangerous. This is the worst type of fat since it not only raises bad LDL cholesterol but also lowers good HDL levels. Artificial trans fats can also create inflammation, are linked to heart disease, stroke, and other chronic conditions and contribute to insulin resistance. Aim to eliminate it from your diet.
Primary sources of Trans fat include:
- Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
- Packaged snack (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
- margarine and vegetable shortening
- Deep Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded foods)
- Anything containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
While not as harmful as trans fat, saturated fat can raise bad LDL cholesterol and too much can negatively impact heart health, so it’s best limited in our diets as well.
Primary sources of Saturated fat include:
- Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
- Poultry skin
- Whole-fat dairy products (milk, cream, cheese)
- Ice cream
- Tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil
Tips for adding more healthy fats to your diet
Instead of obsessively counting fat grams, aim for a diet rich in a variety of locally grown vegetables and fruits, raw nuts and seeds with two or more weekly servings of fatty fish. Reduce your intake of commercially produced dairy, red meat, and breaded or fried foods.
Read the labels and eliminate trans fats from your diet. Limiting packaged baked goods and fast food will go a long way.
Eat omega-3 fats every day. Include a mix from the sources I listed earlier.
Eat more avocados. Add them to sandwiches replacing mayonnaise, and in salads or make heart healthy guacamole.
Snack on raw nuts, and olives. Olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fats and make for a low-calorie snack. Try them plain or make a tapenade for dipping.
Look up a few recipes to create your own salad dressing. Commercial salad dressings are often full of unhealthy fats, sodium and added sugars. Create your own healthy dressings with some of the healthy oils we discussed here.
-Coach Be Moore