Some of you may be thinking how did she just put “healthy” and “fats” in the same sentence!?
Well I did, because I truly believe that the right fats are essential in the role of our health. That said, if you’re afraid of fats, you’re not alone. We have been led to think that fat is the enemy and now have a substantial amount of products lining the aisles of the shopping markets that are ‘fat-free,’ or ‘low-fat’ and we’re lead to believe that this is better for us. I’m sure you’ve seen somewhere or been told that a low-fat diet would help you get the summer body you want so badly.
Not all fats, however, are created equally. There are fats I would avoid like the plague, but our bodies do need fat- more specifically they need the right fats.
Why do our bodies need healthy fats:
Fats in our diet are essential in giving the body energy and in supporting cell growth. They help to protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Your body needs fats to absorb some nutrients and to produce important hormones. Yes, ladies, you heard right. Fats play a vital role in our hormones and keeping them balanced. Fat is not something our bodies can produce from scratch and it is for this reason that we need to consume it mindfully ourselves.
Here is a list of some of the benefits of eating saturated fats:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Stronger bones
- Healthy Brain
- Healthy Lungs
- Stronger immune system
- Better nerve signaling
- Healthier liver function
- Hormone health and balance
My Top 5 Healthy Fats for your Body:
So while there is a range of great fats that you can consume to better your health, these are among my top five favourite. That doesn’t mean you won’t find me using many other fats in my kitchen. The ones below pack a real punch, from lowering bad cholesterol to helping shed excess weight and even giving you healthy shiny hair and nails.
1.”Butter makes everything better!”
There is no chance you’ll find anything other than butter in our house. No margarine, or easy spread death paste, or any other vegetable oil spread. Just good old fashioned butter. The trick here is getting your hands on some good quality grass-fed butter.
Butter contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which help your brain function properly and improve skin health. These two fatty acids are considered essential, the body needs them but cannot produce them on its own- they must be found from food sources. It is also rich in fat-soluble vitamins and minerals.
Strangley enough, my son who is lactose intolerant and consumes only goats milk or nut milk does just fine on butter. I’ve heard of a few other cases just like it and I’m guessing it comes down to the fat content. However if you are still concerned you could substitute the butter and instead use Ghee, its delightful Indian cousin.
2. Avocado Love
Who doesn’t love the rich Creamy texture of an Avocado? I am fortunate enough that my parents have the most incredible Avocado tree in their garden that produces some of the creamiest and tastiest Avo’s each year. They are one of the healthiest fruits you can consume because they are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are great for lowering bad cholesterol levels and raising the good cholesterol- it’s a fat ninja! Let’s not forget the vitamin E that is found in Avocados which helps prevent free radical damage, acts as an anti-aging nutrient for the skin and boosts your immunity. Let’s not forget that it is also packed full of healthy protein. For all the pregnant women, avocado is is a great source of folate, which is essential during pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects.
3. Omega 3’s
Historically, we’ve seen that populations that consume the most omega-3 foods, like people in Okinawa, Japan, live longer and healthier lives than people who eat a standard diet low in omega-3s. Now to complicate things a little there is more than one type of Omega-3.
ALA, DHA, and EPA the most common or preferred sources of omega-3’s are DHA and EPA. These can be found in seafood like sardines or salmon. ALA, however, is found in some plant foods like nuts, seeds and good quality cuts of meat like grass-fed beef.
- The best omega-3 nuts are walnuts
- the best seeds with the most omega 3’s are chia and flax seeds
- Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and watercress, as well as Brussels sprouts, are also great!
I would also recommend supplementing with a good quality fish oil.
4. Nuts for Coconut Oil
The benefits of this oil are endless and I’m a huge fan of Coconut oil. We use it for so many things at home, you can put it on your skin, in your hair, or even oil pull with it.
The fatty acids in coconut oil are easily absorbed by your body and improve brain and memory function. It also increases the good cholesterol promoting heart health and is a great anti-inflammatory food because of the anti-oxidants found in it.
This is an easy one to add to your diet, it’s great for cooking or baking. The flavour can be a little overpowering for some. The best choice when it comes to picking a coconut oil is an extra virgin oil as the refined or processed oils can tend to eliminate many of the health benefits.
5. Extra Virgin, never been kissed, Olive Oil
Now this is one that many people cook with and I really would not recommend it. Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive oil at high temperatures is not great because of its low smoke point. It is, however, great for making salad dressings or drizzling over bread and cooked foods- try it over your pizza!
Please be aware of what Olive oil you are buying as many of them are fake olive oils and more than likely a combination of oils. Look for extra virgin, preferably locally sourced Olive oil.
This is another one that is great for heart health and memory as well as rubbing all over your skin. It has high amounts of antioxidants which protect your cells from damage.
I hope you no longer fear fat, but rather embrace it as part of your healthy, nutritious daily menu. For more on Saturated fats have a look at Dr. Mercola’s article . Next week I will be getting into some Oils that are great to have in your kitchen and how to use them so check in next week for more on healthy fats and how to include them in your diet.
Love and health,
“Mama Wolf” x
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