When it comes to fats, you may be wondering, “what’s the difference?”. Not all fats are considered equal. A healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to cut out all fats, just focus on the healthier ones! So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?
There are 3 types of fats: saturated, unsaturated, and trans. We will be focusing on the healthy fats which are considered unsaturated fats.
Omega-3 fats are considered a polyunsaturated fatty acid that offers many health benefits:
- They promote normal functions of the brain and nervous system.
- They help lower cholesterol and support a healthy heart.
- They help with eye health.
- They reduce inflammation in the body.
There are 3 types of these fatty acids, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). I am definitely glad we use the acronyms here! Something to remember here is that your body can’t make omega-3 fatty acids. You must get them from foods that you eat. Here’s what you should eat to make sure you are getting these healthy fats in your body.
Try and include fatty fish in your diet at least twice a week. Some great ones to try are salmon, herring, sardines, and trout.
Walnuts are another great option. You can add chopped walnuts to cereal, salads, or even a high protein muffin. Check out this recipe using walnuts to make granola that is perfect for breakfast or a snack!
Flaxseed is another great option to get your omega-3s! Your body can’t break down the whole flaxseed, so it’s best to use ground flaxseed. You can add it to cereal, yogurt, baked goods, or even add it to casseroles! I promise you won’t even know it’s in there!
Chia seeds are also loaded with these healthy fats. I know you are probably thinking “chi, chi, chia” and picturing the commercials of the chia pets! I have recently started incorporating chia into my diet and found that I absolutely love chia puddings! These small seeds are packed with so many nutrients in addition to the omega-3 fatty acids! They contain protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. You can add them to cereals, salads, or baked goods!
Hemp seeds are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain a lot of protein! You can eat these raw, cooked or toasted.
Here’s a great recipe using flaxseed, chia, and hemp seeds! It’s totally grain-free so if you have a gluten intolerance, these would be a great option for you!
Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that help to increase HDL, otherwise known as the “good” cholesterol. If you replace the butter and lard with healthy oils like vegetable oil, it may help reduce cholesterol in your body. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can build in your arteries and cause a blockage. This will increase your risk of heart attack or a stroke.
Some foods to include in your diet that are loaded with monounsaturated fats include nuts, oils, avocado and peanut butter.
Nuts are not just loaded with good fats, they also are a good source of protein, fiber and vitamins and minerals. When eating any type of nuts, whether it’s walnuts, peanuts, almonds or cashews, the portion size should be limited. One portion of nuts is equal to 1 ounce. They may be loaded with great nutrition, but they are also loaded with calories! However, this is the better snack option when you have to decide between a handful of nuts and a bag of chips!
Use canola or olive oil in place of butter. You can use it as a salad dressing or saute veggies. I use this great gadget to spray olive oil on my veggies before roasting! (This is an affiliate link.)
Avocados contain monounsaturated fats, as well as fiber, potassium, folate, vitamins B6, C, and E! One of my all-time faves is avocado toast! Just spread avocado on your toast, season it with some salt and pepper, and you have avocado toast! Avocados aren’t just for Mexican food!
Peanut butter is also loaded with monounsaturated fats. If you are using an all-natural one, the oil that separates is the healthy oil! Just mix it in before spreading on your toast!
These are just a few ways to incorporate healthy fats into your diet. How are you going to include them?
If you have any type of inflammation going on, whether it’s from an injury, arthritis, or food sensitivities, it’s a good idea to follow an anti-inflammatory diet that includes the healthy fats I discussed here. By reducing your intake of processed foods and replacing them with colorful, whole plant foods you are well on your way to reaping the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet and reducing the risk of many chronic diseases. Curious as to what your plate might look like? Sign up for a 3-day free trial of our anti-inflammatory meal plan – we’ll take the guesswork out of it.
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