The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Fats
Does eating fat really add inches to your waistline? When it comes fats how much should we be consuming? And are which fats are the healthiest? Here is your Ultimate Guide To Healthy Fats, and which fats to steer away from.
Fat is an essential nutrient for your health. Dietary fats provide energy for the body. Dietary fats are broken down in the body into fatty acids. Fats that are not used right away are stored in the body as fat cells, for use later on, during your workout or any other excessive body movement. Fat cells have unlimited capacity!! Dietary fats can be broken down into smaller components and used for energy such as exercising and working out, or they can be stored as adipose tissue, depending on your energy needs. Fats are the most energy dense storage form. Dietary fats aid in brain development and protect our internal organs. Dietary fats in the body also act as an insulation.
We often see labels on processed foods such as “fat free” or “low fats” – yet we still see the rise of obesity trends in the world.
What are healthy fats?
Healthy fats are dietary fats that come in the form of unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are naturally occurring or manmade (manipulated) to become unsaturated. Usually found in a liquid state. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the good fats.
What are the benefits of healthy fats?
Healthy dietary fats play an important role in the body, and is required for everyday optimal performance. One form of a healthy dietary fat is called monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are known to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, reduce the risk of having a stroke, improve blood cholesterol, and help with brain function. Fats help with the absorption of vitamin D, K, E and A.
Dietary fats play a major role in cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is found in your blood. There are two types of cholesterol – LDL cholesterol which is the bad cholesterol which can lead to clogged arteries and HDL cholesterol which is the good cholesterol. The goal is to keep LDL cholesterol low and HDL cholesterol high, this is known to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.
It is important to monitor the fats you’re consuming and to replace the bad fats with good fats.
Dietary fats help balance and regulate hormones in our bodies – progesterone in women and testosterone in men. And fats produce the hormone serotonin and serotonin is the hormone in our body that boosts moods.
Adding healthy fats to your diet and at every meal will help you feel full and more satisfied after a meal – reducing hunger and promoting weight loss.
What are bad fats? And what foods have bad fats that we should avoid?
Trans fats – artificial fats – increasing your risk of type two diabetes. No amounts of trans fats are safe for the body. Small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats can be found in meat and dairy products
Trans fats can be found in all the yummy manufactured and processed foods such as pastries, cookies, donuts, muffins, cakes and pizza dough, microwave popcorn, chips, and crackers. Vegetable shortening. Fried foods. Foods containing hydrogen or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil are considered to be a bad fat, even if it claims to be trans fat free!!!
Saturated fats are not as harmful as trans fats but can raise LDL cholesterol levels. These types of fats can be found in red meat, ice cream, butter, milk, cream, cheese, lard and tropical oils like coconut and palm. Saturated fats should be limited to 10% of your daily calories.
List of healthy fats:
Well, if you’re a chocolate lover then you’ll love this one, because pure dark chocolate is on this list! (Dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or more)
Dark Chocolate – dark chocolate is also high in magnesium and iron, and has a ton of antioxidants
Salmon, herring, sardines, macerall, lake trout – if you don’t eat fish, then supplementing with a fish oil is recommended
Nuts – Walnuts, Almonds, (keep portion sizes in control)
Oils – replace solid fats such as butter or margarine
Oils: avocado oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, coconut
Avocado – avocados are also one of the best sources of potassium – even more than a banana!!
Whole Eggs – one of the most nutrient dense foods
Peanut butter and other nut butters
Monounsaturated fats include:
Olive, canola, peanut and sesame oil
Nuts: almonds, walnuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews
Polyunsaturated fats include:
Sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds
Fatty fish – salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, fish oils
Soybeans and safflower oil
Good Fats: avocado, oil, nuts
Omega 3 fats are polyunsaturated fatty acids that reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for our health, and the body cannot produce. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish oil, nuts, flax seeds and vegetable oils.
Research has shown that omega 3 fatty acids have major health benefits including:
Prevent and reduce symptoms of depression, ADHD and bipolar disease, ease arthritis, joint pain and inflammation. Support a healthy pregnancy, balance your mood. Decrease risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer.
Vegetarian sources of Omega 3 fatty acids
Canola and soybean oil
Bad Fats: butter, animal fats, lard – increase ldl cholesterol
Trans fats increase LDL cholesterol – which is the bad cholesterol and promotes arterial plaque
Trans fats decrease HDL cholesterol – which is the good cholesterol and this leads to an increase of heart disease
How can I add healthy fats into my diet?
Add fish into your meal plan at least 2x per week.
Use Olive oil instead of butter when cooking
Omega 3 fats should be consumed everyday, you can supplement with fish oil if needed
Eat avocados – (check out my healthy fudge cookies made with avocados here)
Reach for nuts, and olives for a healthy snack throughout the day to curb your hunger.
Be prepared and make your own salad dressings ahead of time and store them in the fridge, instead of reaching for commercial brands that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats.
What is the best time of day to eat healthy fats?
You should try to incorporate healthy fats into every meal that you eat. Healthy fats should also be coupled with protein and carbohydrates. Eating fats with every meal will help you feel full and satisfied for a longer period of time, reducing the urge to eat more. And curbing your hunger.
Healthy fats for breakfast
The best fats for breakfast include whole eggs, and avocado. One of my favourite go to breakfasts is my open faced breakfast sandwich, find the recipe here kreemountain.com/recipes
Remember that food impacts mental health and daily life: good or bad.
If you want a guide of what a meal plan with the perfect amount of healthy fats looks like based on a caloric intake of 1500 calories, grab my 5 day meal plan here. It will help you get to know what healthy fats are and how much you need. If you’re looking to take your nutrition to the next level, book a nutrition consultation with me here, and I will design a meal plan specifically tailored to your needs based on your caloric intake, goals and your healthy fat requirements for your body.
Bottom line: Try to incorporate fats into every meal, coupled with carbohydrates and protein, as well as a variety of colours. Enjoy reasonable amounts of unsaturated fats, like avocado, olive oil, and nuts and avoid all trans fats. Be fully conscious and present when preparing and consuming your foods.
Do you have a question about healthy fats? Email me at email@example.com.
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A passionate Life Coach, Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach and UFE Elite Bikini and Fitness Model Athlete. When she’s not transforming clients to reach their peak performance, she’s training for bikini competitions, drinking tea and spending time with her family.