So for those of us who lived through the 80’s ‘fat phobia’ this may be a major mind adjustment. However, as we all hear time and time again-
It is not fat that is making us fat!
It is, however, excess carbohydrates and sugar but that is a whole different story…
So that got me to thinking- which foods were I scared of before starting this ‘new healthy life,’ only to find out they were actually some of the healthiest foods available! Before we get there, though, let me just throw out a few reasons why fat is so important for our bodies.
- Fats build healthy cells- every cell has a membrane surrounding it which fat has a very important role in forming. Without this healthy membrane, the rest of the cell doesn’t function properly
- Fats build brains- they provide the structural components to hold cells together as well as assisting in insulating nerve fibers to allow them to carry messages faster
- Fats make hormones- hormones regulate many of the body’s functions including satiety (feeling of fullness), fertility, growth, etc.
- Fats help the body absorb vitamins- vitamins A,D,E and K are fat-soluble vitamins, meaning that the fat in foods helps the body absorb vitamins into the body
- Fat cushions the internal organs- this protects them from injury and holds them in place
- Fat makes healthier skin- Fats build healthy cells- every cell has a membrane surrounding it which helps keep skin moist and smooth as well as helping regulate body temperature
Ok, so they’re important. You get it. So let me tell you some of my favorites…
1. Coconut Oil- Contrary to what people have been told about saturated fat, coconut oil is shown to improve cholesterol ratio levels, as well as be a great source of energy (medium chain fatty acids are metabolized like carbohydrates to provide easy energy), improve blood sugar handling, boost thyroid function, increase digestion, and many others. Since it is a saturated fat, it is much more stable which means it can be used to cook at higher temperatures (not deep frying) than many other options. Tip: try making homemade fudge with coconut oil- it’s amazing, and only 3 ingredients!
2. Grass Fed Butter- Real butter includes tons of healthy components including being a great source of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids (the correct balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats), CLA (which protects against different types of cancer and helps the body store muscle instead of fat), prevents stiffness in the joints, and on and on. And it’s delicious. Did I even need to mention that? Tip: try adding to your morning coffee- unsalted is best.
3. Nuts- (I love raw, sprouted nuts) contain great components like ALA (protects your body against the damaging physical effects of being stressed out), bolster your immune system, reduce the risk of heart disease, arginine (an amino acid that converts to nitric acid in the body and helps blood vessels to relax, protects against certain types of cancer), etc. Plus, they make a convenient and delicious snack! Tip: try soaking your nuts overnight, then lightly salt with himalayan sea salt and dry in a food dehydrator or in the lowest setting of your oven- this decreases the phytotoxins which block the absorption of important vitamins and minerals, cuts the bitterness, and increases digestibility!
4. Avocados- Fresh avocados contain phytosterols which help keep our inflammation under control (both internally as well as with conditions such as arthritis), rich in vitamins K, B9, B6, B5, C, and E, helps absorption of fat soluble nutrients, is higher in protein and lower in sugar than most other fruits, and a great source of fiber. Their well balanced composition make them a great substitute for meat on a salad, sandwich, or snack. Tip: try in a salad with fresh tomatoes, olives, mozzarella balls, and balsamic vinegar (optional olive oil and basil)
5. Olives- Black and green olives provide cardiovascular benefits, prevents cancer, contain many different antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients which help with pain relief and prevention of all chronic diseases, and most interestingly less allergies. Unique components in olive extracts may help to lessen a cell’s histamine response which is a key player in the inflammatory process. Tip: try in your scrambled eggs with sun dried tomatoes. Yummm…
As you can see, there are lots of delicious options available to keep your brain and body working at their best! Try to incorporate healthy fats every day (better yet every meal) to reap all the benefits.
What’s your favorite healthy fat? How do you like to eat it/use it?