Many people are afraid of eating fats because this type of food has been labeled as unhealthy by so-called professionals for decades. That is why you often find food labeled as low-fat. So, people join the bandwagon, even cutting off healthy fat in the quest to live a healthier life. Perhaps you are one of these people. However, labeling fat as unhealthy food is one of the biggest nutritional fallacies in history.
The Advantages of Healthy Fats
In many places around the world, people eat fat freely. Only recently, Americans start realizing the truth about eating fats -fat can be an excellent source of nutrition if you choose it wisely. All you need to do is focus on eating healthy fats. That is why fat-based dietary systems such as ketogenic diets are becoming more popular. People are becoming more inquisitive about eating healthy fats.
Fats are necessary for healthy living. They are the carriers of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. You need to eat fats to maintain healthy hair and skin. Fats play a vital role in the formation of cell membranes. They also provide energy and help in insulating the body to maintain a steady temperature, among many other functions.
Do you know that you can lose weight by eating healthy fats? Moreover, fat digests more slowly than carbohydrates helping to increase the feeling of satiety. Several studies have shown that fats can help suppress the desire to eat, thereby helping people lose weight.
Moreover, some fats have anti-inflammation properties that enhance overall well being and help prevent certain types of diseases. A typical example is Omega 3 fatty acid that has been proven to relieve inflammation and symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease. Monounsaturated fatty acid helps increase the levels of HDL, which is also known as good cholesterol. In essence, it lowers the levels of triglycerides and decreases the risk of cardiac diseases.
Foods that are high in fats boost the functions of the brain. It reduces inflammation and promotes blood flow to the brain, thereby enhancing cognitive functions. Medium-chain fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids are the most important class of fats that enhances the functions of the brain.
Below are eleven sources of healthy fats you should be taking consistently to promote your general welfare.
Avocado is highly acclaimed as one of the healthiest foods in existence. Even the Keto diet system refers to Avocado as one of its top sources of healthy fat. This fact is keenly connected to the high levels of monosaturated fat it contains. This type of fat plays a vital role in lowering the bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Avocados also contain high levels of vitamin E, which plays a vital role in fighting free radicals; it boosts the immune system and helps the skin heal and look young.
It also contains high levels of healthy proteins. Researchers say that protein content in avocado is higher than any other fruit in existence. Moreover, pregnant women can benefit from taking avocados because it is a rich source of Folate, which is required for a healthy delivery and normal development of the fetus.
Besides eating avocado directly, you can add a decent quantity to your diet by using avocado oil for your cooking. It is an excellent choice for cooking because of its mild taste, which will not overshadow the taste of your dishes. Moreover, it has a high smoking point, making it perfect for frying and grilling. Since avocado oil maintains a liquid state at room temperature, it is perfect for your salads, sandwiches and veggies,
Butter and Ghee
When you visit stores, you will usually see butter-like substances on the shelves such as margarine and other oil spreads. The best option for the healthy butter spread is real butter derived from grass-fed cattle.
Although butter has lost popularity due to various anti-fatty diet propagandas, it is recently making a becoming more popular as more people are becoming aware of its immense benefits. Butter contains high levels of Omega 3; and Omega 6 fatty acids, which plays a crucial role in enhancing brain function and improving skin health. Besides, the duo are essential fatty acids, this means that the body requires these compounds for normal functions but cannot produce them on its own. As a result, they must be derived from diets.
Other useful components of butter include fat-soluble vitamins, trace elements, and an antioxidant. The burning temperature of butter is low. That is why it is not an excellent option for cooking at low temperatures. Instead, butter is usually added to baked foods and toast spreads. It is a source of rich flavor to various kinds of toasts and roasted foods and veggies.
Another type of butter that is quickly coming to prominence is Ghee, the Indian variety of butter. Ghee is a type of clarified butter that is usually simmered to release a nutty flavor from the butter. Ghee has a high smoke point, which makes it an excellent option for cooking at high temperatures.
So, what are the benefits of consuming ghee? It has a high content of vitamins A and E. These types of vitamins get absorbed into the body from fatty foods in the intestines. They are also stored in the gastrointestinal tracts and works to keep your digestion and metabolism in top form.
Ghee does not contain casein or lactose, which makes it an excellent option for people who are intolerant to lactose. You can decide to make your own Ghee at home or buy the ones that are ready-made from the store. However, when you are buying from the store, check the label to make sure it is derived from organic grass-fed cultured ghee. It’s a healthy fat which does not spoil easily. It can remain fresh for several weeks when stored at room temperature. However, you can make it last longer when you refrigerate it.
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils in existence. Besides using it for cooking, it has many other applications, such as its use as body and hair lotions. It has been proved to improve the formation of healthy skin, scalp, and hair. It has a rich content of medium-chain fatty acids which are easy to digest. Most of these types of fats are not stored in the body, they are absorbed by the cells and used to produce energy for the body.
Fatty acids from coconut oil improve the brain and memory functions. They are mostly natural saturated fats, which increase the levels of good cholesterol in the body and promote healthy cardiac functions. Coconut oil also contains some antioxidants which prevent inflammations and alleviates the symptoms of arthritis.
There are several ways of adding coconut oil into your diet. It can be added directly to your cooking and baking or used directly on your skin. However, use small quantities of the oil in your cooking because the flavor can be overwhelming in your food. Also, note that coconut is solid at room temperature in colder parts of the world. So, it might not be the best choice when you want your healthy fat in liquid form. Make sure you choose extra virgin coconut oil; they are the best option because refined coconut oil would have removed some of the nutrients during processing.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil contains many beneficial nutrients. It’s a good idea to add it to every one of your meals -if possible. Extra virgin olive oil, which is commonly referred to as EVOO, is one of the best foods that promote cardiac health. Some studies have shown that consuming olive oil can improve cardiac functions, normalize blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol in the bloodstream. "> The high antioxidant levels in EVOO plays a crucial role in protecting the body cells from oxidative stress. It serves as an anti-inflammatory agent and also improves cognitive and memory functions. In essence, it improves the overall wellbeing because most disease conditions are aggravated by inflammation.
However, the major challenge you will face is finding EVOO that is natural and free from chemical additives. Many brands that have EVOO written on the label have been known to fall short in standards. That is why you should choose a reputable EVOO brand.
Here are some tips you can apply to test for EVOO without heading to the laboratory. Be wary of any brand that costs less than ten dollars for a liter of EVOO. Look out for the seal which inscribes the International Olive Oil Council and check for the date of harvest on the label. If you see inscriptions such as “pure,” “light,” or “blend,” it is not virgin quality. Finally, select the brands that use dark bottles because it protects the oil from oxidation.
Kindly note that EVOO has a low smoking point, so you should not use it for cooking at high temperatures. However, it is excellent for making salads toast spreads, or using it on cooked foods.
There are some varieties of fish that are rich in fatty content. Sardines, mackerel, salmon, and anchovies are a few fishes that have substantial quantities of fish oils that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are crucial for healthy living. Omega 3 fatty acid is an essential fatty acid that must be derived from diets because the body cannot synthesize the compound on its own.
Omega-3 fatty acid exists in three different forms. The variations of this compound include DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA (eicosatetraenoic acid, and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). However, the DHA and EPA are the types that are found in seafood and also the most beneficial type of Omega-3 fatty acid. ALA is the variant of Omega-3 fatty acid that is derived from plant sources such as nuts seeds and vegetables.
After ingesting ALA, the body can convert it to DHA and EPA. However, the procedure is not as efficient as deriving DHA and EPA directly from the diet. Scholars generally consider all types of Omega-3 fatty acids beneficial to the body. However, the procedure of converting ALA to other types of omega-3 is unclear. The benefit ALA provides in its natural state is also vague.
If you are not used to taking fatty fish consistently in your diet, it would be a great idea to use fish oil instead. There are lots of variants in the market, such as krill oil and cod liver oil. If you are a vegetarian, you may consider using algal oil. These oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They are effective in fighting inflammation and promoting the health of the heart and circulatory system in general.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are an excellent source for getting healthy fats in the diet because they are easily available and often affordable. Most of them can be transported easily, and some can be taken in the form of snacks. So, you can always get a consistent dosage of healthy fats anytime from the pack of nuts in your bag.
Some of the benefits of eating fats derived from nuts and seeds include a healthier cardiovascular system. They are efficient in lowering the levels of bad -LDL- cholesterol, giving rise to a healthier heart and arteries. Seeds that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are often called brain foods because of their positive impact on the nervous system. Some of them are used as a remedy for combating depression and improving mood.
You can select from multiple seeds that are rich in healthy fats. For instance, walnuts will give you about 5 grams of healthy fatty acids per serving. Another excellent option is almonds. It has high levels of vitamin E combined with many healthy fats such as oleic acid. Almost all nuts have high nutritional profiles. Hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, and macadamia are just a few out of the many nutritional nuts you can choose.
Another great way of consuming healthy fat is to choose any of the nut butter variants in the market. However, it is crucial to select the right nut butter. Choose the ones that do not have sugar and other additives. You can also choose to toast nuts and sprinkle them over your salad for a dose of healthy fat.
Another innovative way of consuming healthy far is to add seeds such as flaxseed or chia seed to your yogurt or add it to your smoothie. Whichever nut or seed you chose; you will be enjoying healthy fat in your diet.
Eggs are inexpensive but highly nutritious. Those shells are filled with a wide range of proteins and amino acids. You might have heard about the fallacy that eggs can raise blood cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, people believed that faux for decades. But today, we know that eggs contain nothing but nourishing goodness that is great for your health. Consuming eggs can even lower the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. It also contains chlorine that keeps the brain functioning optimally.
Moreover, people that consume high amounts of eggs are more resistant to metabolic syndrome, a condition where the patient suffers multiple symptoms. Some of the symptoms include high blood sugar levels, excess body fat, abnormal cholesterol levels, among many others. People suffering from such conditions are prone to heart diseases, stroke, and type-2 diabetes. A scientific study found that adults aged 40 years and above who consume eggs consistently show lower risks of metabolic syndrome.
The challenge people have with consuming eggs is the many speculations about the right way to eat eggs. While some advice that adults should eat only the white part of the eggs, others prefer to consume the yolk as well. Also, the claims of the egg cartons can be complicated. Well, the best approach is to consume the whole egg because the nutrients are divided between the egg white and the yolk as well. Also, choose free-range eggs, they have proved to contain more nutrients than others.
Grass-fed, Organic Beef
It is common information among Americans that poultry is healthier and more nutritious than red meat. However, grass-fed beef is a rich source of healthy fats and proteins that you should have in your daily diet. These are nutrients that help promote satiety and strong muscles.
Be mindful of the fact that animals fed with grass provide more nutrients than the ones fed with grains. For instance, levels of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, are higher in grass-fed beef. CLA plays a crucial role in preventing cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Other beneficial features of CLA include its ability to lower bad cholesterol and enhance cardiovascular health due to the high levels of antioxidants it contains.
Another advantage of choosing grass-fed beef over others is that they rarely receive antibiotics and hormone injections. That is why such beef contains more natural and healthy nutrients.
Medium Chain Triglycerides, which is also known as MCT, is a type of fatty jam that has lots of health benefits. This type of fat is easily digested and transferred to the liver, where they are metabolized to release energy. That is the reason why some people add MCT to coffee to increase the calorie it delivers and also to help improve satiety. This is an excellent solution for weight management.
There are several ways to use MCT oil. You can add it to your homemade salads, smoothie, and shakes. Another option is to combine MCT oil with other oils while baking or preparing toast spread.
People who take dairy products can choose full-fat dairy as an excellent option for consuming healthy fats. One of the best choices is probiotic yogurt, it contains useful bacteria that help increase the health of your digestive tracts. Other benefits of probiotics include healthy digestion, lower cholesterol, and a stronger immune system.
If you can tolerate raw milk, then you should try fresh milk from grass-fed cows. Such milk has lots of vitamins, minerals, neutral enzymes, and healthy fats. Some studies claim that since raw milk does not contain sugar and other additives, it can help reduce allergy in people that are sensitive to dairy products.
Cheese is another excellent option for a balanced nutritional diet. However, you should only consume minimally processed cheese that is derived from grass-fed animals. Some of the healthiest cheese in the market are goat, ricotta, feta, and cottage cheese.
Dark chocolate is a superfood that also tastes great. Some of the nutritional benefits of chocolates include healthy fats, antioxidants, and flavonoids, just to mention a few. Dark chocolate has been found to normalize blood pressure, improve cardiac health, and optimizes the flow of blood to the heart and brain. Perhaps, that is why dark chocolates are effective in improving cognitive performance. The antioxidants content of dark chocolates plays a crucial role in preventing the accumulation of free radicals that cause diseases.
However, you should be careful while buying dark chocolates. The best ones should have at least 70 percent cacao content and should also have minimal sugar and other additives. Look out for the fair-trade logo and check the label to make sure the brand uses organic cocoa beans to create their product.