“If we eat fat, we will become fat,” used to be the story.
So fat was banished and “fat-free” labels were stuck on every food imaginable. But this story didn’t have a happy ending.
The trouble was that healthy foods which are naturally free of fat—fresh fruits, leafy green veggies—don’t have a marketing budget and shiny labels. Instead the food industry stepped in with processed foods.
Packaged foods that were laden with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and a sea’s worth of salt were promoted as being a healthy alternative to fat. Salad dressings, cookies and cakes were now “fat-free” (but not calorie-free).
All that sugar creates an insulin roller coaster, increases food cravings, and leads to higher levels of fat storage. The result was sky-rocketing obesity and diabetes.
Now nutrition leaders and mainstream medicine recognize that most fats in food are not bad for you, and some can be GOOD for you.
Healthy fats are the essential fatty acids that power your brain, keep your heart strong and fight against damaging inflammation.
Natural fat in food also increases flavor and satiety, making you feel full and satisfied, so you eat less. Fat can actually help you lose weight!
Go for the guacamole. Avocados are full of mostly monounsaturated fat (the good kind) along with oleic acid and phytosterols which are good for heart health.
Also known as star flower, borage is rich in linoleic acid and is the highest plant source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid. Take it in supplement form to soothe joints and promote glowing skin.
Sprinkle these power seeds onto salads, on top of yogurt or add to a smoothie. They are full of fiber and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Plus you get muscle building protein and calcium for healthy bones.
Once given a bad rap due to its high saturated fat content, coconut is now much loved for its heart-healthy qualities. Unlike other saturated facts, coconut has MCT (medium chain triglycerides) so it doesn’t act like saturated fat. In fact, those MCTs are renowned for promoting fat and weight loss. Go coconut!
Skip fish oil supplements, which are highly refined, often rancid and don’t show heart-health benefits. Do opt for a serving of wild-caught fatty fish like sardines or wild salmon which are full of unprocessed omega-3s.
These little seeds are packed with alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) the parent essential oil that gives your body the building blocks to make and use essential fatty acids. Make sure you use a powdered form to unlock the goodness inside.
We’re nuts about almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts. A handful of raw unsalted nuts daily gives you healthy fats, protein, fiber, and essential minerals.
Best known for its oil, the fruit of the olive tree is a tasty and healthy addition to salads and pizza. High monounsaturated fat content supports healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Pumpkin pepitas (seeds) are chock-full of healthy linoleic and oleic acids. They also come with phytosterols which make for a happy heart.
Healthy fats occur naturally and are found in unprocessed whole foods so they come with all of the nutritional co-factors for optimal use in your body.
Note: Of course, some fats are bad. Trans fats (made in the food industry) are the worst, adding to heart disease. They’re so bad they have been banned and are being phased out of foods.
Vegetable oils such as canola, soy and corn oil should also be avoided as they are typically ultra-refined and extracted using solvents. These fats can actually make you fat.