Healthy Fats Believe it or Not

Are you afraid of fats? Most people are due to the recent hype of low fat advertising on food labels and packaging that has people looking for other things when getting food. “Low fat” and “fat free” have become standard on many food packages and most think by consuming these foods will help with weight loss.  Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest nutritional lies the public believes and probably will continue to believe unless otherwise told. Even then, many people will continue to buy low fat or fat free items because they are just that scared of fat. Did you know our body needs fat to survive? The problem is, most are consuming fats that are not the healthy ones so our bodies are still lacking fat although body weight is steadily rising. Obesity rates actually increased when low fat diets and food labeling became the new norm.

The American Heart Association even says dietary fat is essential to give your body energy and support cell growth. The good fats help your body absorb nutrients and produce hormones. Healthy dietary fats are also the fuel your brain needs to function and it can actually assist in memory retention. They actually increase your body’s metabolism, which will help you in return to burn unwawnted body fat and in return actually help you lose weight. Below are the top foods that contain healthy fats that should be a staple in your diet.

Avocados

The benefits of avocados are endless and they are one of the healthiest fruits you can consume. They are high in monounsaturated fats, which increase the good cholesterol (aka HDL’s) your body needs and lowers the bad cholesterol (aka LDL’s). They are packed with vitamin E that can help prevent various dieses and cancer, boosts the immune system, and acts as an ant-aging nutrient for your skin. For pregnant women, avocado is a great source of folic acid, a vitamin that can help reduce the risk of birth defects.

Coconut Oil

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and research has found it is caused by the brains reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. Coconut oil is high in medium chain fatty acid and has proven to show immediate improvements in brain function when consumed by providing an alternative source of energy. Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats that again raise the food cholesterol and lower the bad cholesterol. Long-term use showed a reduced risk of heart disease and cardiovascular improvement.

Fish & Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Fatty fish contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for the body and must be consume through food or supplementation because our body does not make them on its own. Just make sure when you are buying your fish look for “wild caught” on the package instead of “farm raised”. This is going to be your freshest, most natural form of the fish that doesn’t have the added hormones that can be harmful to the body.  The highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are in fish such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, and halibut. If you do not like fish, you should consider supplementing with high-grade fish oil.

Nuts

Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and pistachios are high in the healthy fat we need.  They can improve blood cholesterol and keep blood vessels healthy. Eating about a handful a day of these has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease. I always tell my patients to make sure they are raw nuts not roasted or sugar coated. When flavor is added, most likely preservatives are used and that can take away from the nutritional value. These are to be eaten in moderation because they are high in calories.

In other parts of the world, fat has always been welcome at the dinner table and its no coincidence that they are not struggling like the United States with an obesity and health crisis. It is time we realize the truth, not all fats are created equal and our body needs fat to survive and function at an optimal level.

 

 

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