What Are Healthy Fats? And Why Are They So Important?
Something happened along the way that made all of us very, very afraid of fats. All fats. If you eat fat, you get fat...right? Wrong.
Your heart craaaaaves fats, you can't live without them! They provide essential fatty acids, keep our skin soft, provide us with amazing vitamins, and are a great source of energizing fuel. The confusion lies in which types of fats are best.
WHAT ARE HEALTHY FATS? AND WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?
What are healthy fats?
There are three fats commonly found in a diet: saturated or trans-fatty acids, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. The "good" fats are the unsaturated kind. There are two types of unsaturated fats: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. These fats are "essential" meaning they are not produced by your body alone and are necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Why are Healthy fats important? How are they good for you?
Both types help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and are great for your heart! Polyunsaturated fats are mostly found in vegetables oils, fish, nuts and seeds. Maybe you're heard of Omega-3 fatty acids - a pretty famous polyunsaturated fat. Omega-3's boost incredible heart-health benefits and are found in fish like salmon and tuna, or in seeds like flax and chia.
The other type, monounsaturated fat, has been proven to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. It's also great for your achy joints. Monounsaturated fat is found primarily in olive oil, nuts and avocados. This fat, get this, actually helps you LOSE weight.
Both are also great sources of vitamins and antioxidants, and boost anti-inflammatory benefits!
What are bad fats - aka what should we actually be afraid of?
Saturated and trans fat. Saturated fat is found in animal product like meat and eggs, and oils like palm and coconut. Trans fat is an extremely unhealthy by-product of industrial fat. The one you really need to worry about is trans fat and those are in...you guessed it, processed foods. Trans fats can be found in almost anything that's packaged - snack food, microwave popcorn, crackers, baked goods, etc.
Trans fat increases risk of some cancers, obesity and high cholesterol. Stay away.
Can you eat too much Healthy fat?
Of course you can, so enjoy everything in moderation. Read the labels and make better choices. The nutrition fact labels will help you figure out which fats you're consuming. Be mindful to choose a balanced diet rich in whole foods, like the Mediterranean Diet - which is more like a lifestyle than an actual diet. (Yes, there is a reason behind their impressive stamina and ageless looks.)
Experiment with good fats - make a salad dressing with olive oil and vinegar instead of something store bought. Grab a handful of almonds or walnuts instead of the bag of chips when you want a snack. Give your body what it craves and we guarantee you'll feel a difference!
How do YOU incorporate healthy fats into your lifestyle?
Let us know in the comments below!