April 6, 2014 Leave a comment
When I tell clients they are not eating enough fat, they often respond with one of the following remarks:
“But I’ve been trying to eat fat-free!”
“But I don’t want to gain weight!”
‘But I thoughts fats were BAD for you!”
That’s when I say, not ALL fats are bad for you, In fact, unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial to your health.
Here’s a list of foods containing healthy unsaturated fats I encourage you to include in your diet:
- Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp hearts or hempseed oil
- Chia seeds
- Small fatty fish like sardines, anchovies, mackerel
- Olive oil
Why should you include these foods into your diet?
- They lower cholesterol, helpful for preventing heart attack and stroke
- They are anti-inflammatory, therefore beneficial for health conditions associated with excess inflammation such as asthma, allergies, eczema, arthritis, etc.
- They help with blood sugar regulation and prevent sugar crashes and sweet cravings
- They keep you feeling full for longer, thus assisting with appetite regulation
- Omega-3 fatty acids, a specific type of unsaturated fatty acid found in high concentrations in fish, support nervous system function and benefit mood disorders like depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, etc.
What foods contain the BAD fats? (Saturated and trans fat)
- Processed meat
- Fast food items
- Deep fried foods
- Packaged snack items
- Chocolate bars
- Commercially baked goods like donuts, muffins and cakes
Excessive consumption of the above saturated and trans fat containing foods lead to more inflammation in your body, thus negatively impacting your health. Inflammation in your blood vessels raises cholesterol. Inflammation in your muscles and joints aggravate pain. Inflammation causes cell damage and is associated with immune system disorders.
Of course, it is impossible to avoid all the bad saturated/trans fats! Therefore, adding in the good unsaturated fats provides balance in your body by offsetting the negative health effects of the saturated/trans fats.
For those of you trying to avoid fat at all cost, I encourage you to try adding some of the unsaturated fats into your diet to obtain their positive health benefits. Your body uses fat for fuel, to support your nervous system, and for hormone production. Also, many ‘fat-free’ items are filled with higher amounts of sugar and simple carbohydrates leading to higher calorie content so these ‘fat-free’ foods may not be a healthier choice after all.
Here’s a great link providing more detail on ‘How to Make Sense of Dietary Fat”
Comments? Feel free to share, as this is a complex and controversial health topic!