Guest Post by Uriell Carlson, RDN of Inner Wild Nutrition
Contrary to old-school beliefs, it is now becoming a better known fact that fat does not make us fat. Still, I want to clear up this generic statement a bit and give you a better understanding of what we’re talking about here.
Benefits of Healthy Fats
First off, we need fat.
Here are the Top 4 reasons why we need fat in our diet:
- Our brain is nearly 60% fat, which means that we need to feed it with fat to maintain brain health, function and integrity.
- There are four essential vitamins, A,D,E,K that are fat-soluble. This means, they require fat to be absorbed by our body. For example, milk can be a great source of Vitamin D, but if it’s low fat milk, you’re not going to absorb the essential Vitamin D! This is where real foods come into play – milk naturally has fat in it for a reason!
- Healthy fats can actually decrease inflammation, lower cholesterol and contribute to improved heart health
- Fat digests slowly. So, when fats are a part of a balanced meal, they help keep you satiated until you eat again.
But, just because we need fat, doesn’t mean you get to go all willy nilly and start eating ALL the fats! Because, not all fat is created equal.
Sources of Healthy Fats
To start off with, here’s a list of 10 amazing sources of healthy fats:
- Olive oil, avocado oil + sesame oil
- Walnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews + almonds
- Peanut butter + other nut butters
- Chia seeds, hemp seeds + ground flax seeds
- Grass fed butter or ghee
- Grass fed, organic red meat
- Wild caught fatty fish such as salmon and black cod
Quality of Healthy Fats with Sierra Gale Seafoods
If you’re getting your healthy fats from animal products such as butter, eggs, meats and fish, quality matters.
For example, farm raised salmon and black cod will not have the same healthy fat profile as wild caught. While wild caught fish is anti-inflammatory, farm raised can actually be inflammatory.
This is one of the reasons I get all of my seafood from Sierra Gale Seafoods and why I buy all of our meat from local, grass fed ranchers.
Limit These Fats
Now, when it comes to the less healthy fats, these are the fats you should limit:
- Trans fats
- Any fat that says “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”
- Margarine and vegetable shortenings
- Vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, soybean, rapeseed + corn
The single best way to avoid these fats is to read ingredient lists! All of these fats are most frequently found in processed, pre-packaged foods.
To wrap it all up, a healthy, balanced meal always includes a source of healthy fat in addition to a serving of protein, a source of fiber, any type of plant and a complex carbohydrate.
This will ensure you’re getting the variety of essential nutrients you need on a daily basis while also ensuring that you are happily satisfied after every meal.