Fats are delicious, they make food taste amazing and decadent, and they have a nasty reputation. Good news: you should eat them AND they’re actually REALLY important to your health! They regulate what nutrients (or non-nutrients) get into our cells, help us absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, and support the central nervous system.
But won’t fat make me gain weight? No! Fats are actually utilized very efficiently by the body and don’t get stored as fat. It’s actually sugar that gets stored as fat, but that’s a topic for another day.
When we have too few fats in the diet, you might experience signs and symptoms like:
- Dry skin, brittle hair and nails
- Scaly rashes and cracked skin that don’t heal
- Brain fog, poor concentration, inability to focus
- Sleep problems, anxiety, depression
- Dry eye, macular degeneration
Avocado: This powerful fruit is full of monounsaturated fats. On top of that, avocados are loaded with fiber to keep you regular, anti-oxidants to combat free radical damage and B-vitamins to keep your mood up and your energy high. Try half an avocado in a smoothie or sliced on a salad or with eggs.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a saturated fat and is shunned because of it. But the truth is, not all saturated fats are created equal. The saturated fats in coconut oil are easy to digest and actually have a protective effect on the heart and boost metabolism. Coconut oil can stand heat and isn’t damaged when heated so it’s great for cooking. Switch cheap vegetable oils for coconut oil or throw a tablespoon into a smoothie.
Butter: That’s right butter! Like coconut oil, butter contains short to medium chain triglycerides that are easy to digest and actually protect the heart, unlike the long chains found in fatty cuts of conventional meats. Be sure to buy organic butter from grass fed cows or goats. If you have problems with dairy, try ghee (clarified butter) instead.
Olive Oil: Cold pressed olive oil has been touted as an essential part of one of the healthiest ways of eating: the Mediterranean diet. High quality olive oil is full of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory polyphenols. Heating damages the oil, so olive oil should NOT be used for cooking; instead, drizzle over meats and cooked veggies or use in salad dressings. Quality is also key: cheap olive oil can actually be really damaging. Look for olive oil that is cold pressed and comes in dark, glass bottles.
Walnuts: All nuts and seeds are great, except for peanuts which actually aren’t nuts at all. Omega 3s, vitamin E, magnesium, phytonutrients: they’re ALL there in walnuts. Walnuts reduce inflammation, thin the blood, boost brain function, and lower cholesterol levels, and you should probably eat them every single day. Eat alone, on salads, with fruit, or in a pâté recipe (sounds gross, tastes amazing – look out for it this Friday!).
Have you been fearing the fat? Let us know your fears in the comments.
Whenever you decide to make a positive change for your health, start slow and make it manageable. You know where you are in your journey and what will work best for you.
Do what will work best for you and, as always, take what you want and leave the rest.