Healthy fats have made their way into our everyday conversation. No longer are we afraid of fats. I am sure you have eaten your fair share of fat-free, low-fat and reduced-fat foods thinking that was the healthy thing to do - I know I have! But something has changed with our relationship with fat. We've begun to learn and understand fats are healthy and can help us maintain our weight.
Now there are still some unhealthy fats our there - trans-fats are still bad! These are the fats found in highly processed foods. Trans-fats can raise your LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and lower HDL (the good cholesterol). (Source: American Heart Association). In fact, they are so bad for you that major food manufacturers have tried to eliminate them where ever they can.
There are two types of healthy fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are found in nuts, avocado and vegetable oils. They can help lower your LDL (the bad cholesterol) and since they are high in Vitamin E, they can also help keep your immune system healthy. Polyunsaturated fats include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. These are essential fatty acids that we can only get from food! Our bodies do not make them. (Source: Medline Plus)
Omega-3's can be found in foods such as fish, flaxseed, fish oil supplements, and chia seeds, among others. They are important because they support a healthy cardiovascular system, a healthy inflammation response, brain health and vision. You can read more about Omega's in an infographic posted on Delicious Living Magazine's website. Click here to access it.
One food that is full of healthy fats, the avocado, has really gained a lot of popularity beyond guacamole. When you are consuming avocado toast, you will be happy to know that avocados contain oleic acid - a monounsaturated fat that has been linked to reduce inflammation. Oleic acid is also found in avocado oil making it a good choice for homemade salad dressings and cooking. (Source: Healthline.com)
Just because a fat is healthy doesn't mean you should go overboard eating them! Foods that contain healthy fats, such as avocado and almonds, tend to be high in calories. So you should make sure that you portion the foods for the right caloric intake that you need. This is also where you should consider the amount of exercise you do. If you are working out consistently, then being aware of what you are eating is key.
So what foods contain healthy fats that you can incorporate into your everyday diet beyond avocado? Here are a few to incorporate into your routine with a few recipes.
When cooking veggies or lean protein or making your own salad dressing, there are specific oils high in monounsaturated that you should use. Olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower and sesame oils can be used when cooking just about anything! (Source: Livestrong) Here are 8 Healthy Salad Dressings you can make using some of these oils from Wholefully. Click here to access the recipes.
NUTS, SEEDS & NUT BUTTERS
Nuts that are the highest in monounsaturated fats are almonds, peanuts and pistachios. As mentioned earlier, nuts tend to be high in calories so you have to watch the serving size. Also, if you are buying nut butters, make sure to look for products that are just the ground up nuts without added sugars or preservatives. Or make your own! Here is a recipe from Happy Money Saver. Click here to access the recipe.
There are various types of fish that contain polyunsaturated oils, tuna, salmon, trout and herring. We try to eat salmon at least once a week because omega-3's have been shown to improve blood flow, reduce inflammation and improve heart health (Source: Very Well Fit). While it may not always be economical to buy salmon, canned salmon can be a good substitute. Here is a recipe for Old Bay Salmon Cakes by Aggies Kitchen. Click here for the recipe.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about healthy fats and how to incorporate them into your routine. If you try any of the above, let me know how you used the food or oil or if you tried one of the recipes. I love reading about your experiences. For more healthy living tips and healthy recipes, follow my blog on Bloglovin.