The Skinny on Healthy Fats
AvocadosAvocados are one of tastiest superfoods you can eat. Studies consistently show that avocado eaters are slimmer and eat less at subsequent meals. Avocados are rich in a type of fat called monounsaturated fat as well as fiber, both of which are consistently linked with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They are also abundant in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E.
Tips to include avocados:
- Mash with salsa for easy guacamole.
- Fill with hummus or cottage cheese for a quick snack.
- Use in smoothies to make the smoothie creamier!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)Like avocados, this type of oil contains a healthy fat that is consistently associated with reduced risk of heart disease. The key to EVOO is to buy a high-quality brand that has been cold pressed and unrefined. Plus, contrary to popular it shouldn't be used for all your cooking. It has a medium to a low smoke point, so you do not want to use it for high-temperature cooking like frying (see below for better fats to cook at high temperatures with). Look for dark bottles that will protect this delicate oil from potentially going rancid. This fat has a high number of antioxidants protecting cells from free radical damage. It is associated with improved cognition and memory function.
Tips to include EVOO:
- Use in salad dressings.
- Use in dips and spreads such as hummus.
- Drizzle on food after it's already been cooked for extra flavor.
Butter and GheeWrongly villainized for years, we know now that butter and ghee might be one of the healthiest fats you can eat! Never heard of ghee? Ghee is clarified butter and is very popular in traditional Indian cooking. Clarified butter has been simmered to bring out natural flavors, this creates a higher smoke point and removes casein and lactose. So, it's essentially "dairy free." Both butter and ghee have healthy fats in them that help support a healthy digestive tract and are rich in fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin K. Your best choice is a 100% grass-fed product because it will be higher in anti-inflammatory healthy fats such as omega three fatty acids as well as other antioxidants such as CLA (Conjugated Linoleum Aid).
Tips to include butter and ghee:
- Use it for cooking. (Use Ghee to cook foods at high temperatures.)
- Spread on vegetables.
- Top your favorite homemade bread and muffins it.
Coconut Oil and Coconut MilkA very hotly debated topic. If you want to health professionals potentially get in fist fights, bring up coconut oil. The facts? The types of fats in coconut oil in bypass normal digestion so they can be used for immediate cholesterol. Coconut oil may increase your good cholesterol and make your bad cholesterol less dangerous by shifting the size of the molecules. It's important to buy high-quality coconut oil that is cold pressed and unrefined. Coconut milk that comes from a can is also rich in these types of fats whereas the carton coconut milk is not.
Tips to include coconut oil and coconut milk:
- Use coconut oil to cook anything that requires medium heat.
- Coconut oil can spread like butter or ghee on veggies or toast.
- Use coconut milk in smoothies or oatmeal.
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsYou could easily say we saved the best and most important for last. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in the diet as the body cannot produce them on its own. Fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are anti-inflammatory. Certain plant foods like walnuts, flax and chia seeds have a different type of omega-3 fatty acid called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). While this is good for you, the body must convert this form to EPA and DHA. The conversion process is not thought to be efficient enough to supply optimal intake of EPA and DHA.
Tips for getting Omega-3 fatty acids:
- Include high-quality wild caught fish 2-3 times per week.
- Add a sufficient amount of plant based omega-3's every day.
- Use flax oil on salads.
- Consider supplementing with a high-quality fish oil. It’s best to keep your fish oil in the fridge.