By Jen Broyles
There are a lot of myths out there regarding nutrition. We are always eager to try the next health fad or new diet in hopes of dropping pounds and feeling great. One of the biggest misconceptions is that fat makes you fat. Our society is obsessed with low-fat and fat-free products thinking they are healthier. This simply is not true. The majority of foods that are labeled low-fat or fat-free are refined processed foods in which the fat has been replaced with more sugar. Not a good option. In fact, many fats are very healthy, essential to our wellbeing, and even promote weight loss. Our body requires fat in order to function properly. Plus, many necessary vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning the only way your body can absorb them is in the presence of fat.
Here are a few types of good fats that are great to incorporate into your diet. Not only will you feel better, but you will be less hungry, and your body won’t feel deprived.
Nuts are very diet-friendly and are loaded with a ton of amazing nutrients, healthy fats, and protein. Nuts are one of the best sources of alpha-lenolenic acid, a type of heart-healthy omega-3. Omega-3s offer numerous health benefits from lowering cholesterol to disease prevention. They are also rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that has been shown to boost immune function, promote wound healing, improve blood vessel function, and help manage cardiovascular disease. Additionally, nuts contain soluble fiber and Vitamin E. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels while Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E is essential for proper immune function, healthy skin, and DNA repair.
Some of my favorites are almonds, walnuts, and brazil nuts. Try them in smoothies, nutrition bars, salads, trail mix, or alone. Nut butters are another delicious way to enjoy this nutrient-dense food.
Olive oil is such a healthy oil to use when sautéing, baking, and making salad dressing. This fantastic oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants such as chlorophyll, carotenoids, and vitamin E.
Olive oil is great for reducing blood pressure, cancer prevention, managing diabetes, and lessening the severity of asthma and arthritis. In fact, including olive oil in your diet can help you maintain a lower, healthy weight.
Avocados are fantastic fruits with tons of nutritional benefits. They are an excellent source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps cleanse and protect your body by detoxifying, removing heavy metals, and fighting free radicals. Glutathione helps maintain a healthy immune system and slows the aging process. Avocados are rich in folate, which has been shown to decrease the incidence of heart disease and stroke. They are also the best fruit source of Vitamin E, which protects against many diseases and helps maintain overall health.
Not only are avocados packed with nutrients, but studies have shown that certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with an avocado. Enjoy an avocado on a sandwich, in a salad, blended into a smoothie.
Coconut products offer an array of health benefits, and coconut oil is a great oil to use for cooking, or it can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, and other dishes. Coconut oil offers antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-cancer properties. It improves digestion, nutrient absorption and intestinal health. It provides cardiovascular benefits and helps manage Type 2 Diabetes. Coconut oil promotes kidney and liver health and supports the immune system. It also benefits metabolism, energy, and weight management.
Coconut oil had a bad reputation for a while primarily because it is composed of saturated fat, which we are told to stay away from. However, the saturated fat in coconut oil is different from that in animal products. The fatty acids in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides, which are easily metabolized and used as energy by the body. Research suggests that these fatty acids may boost your metabolism, promote weight loss, and increase HDL, the good, protective cholesterol in your body.
Seeds, like nuts, contain a number of heart healthy properties. They offer beneficial fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. Seeds are also packed with health-promoting minerals such as magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
Some great seeds to include in your diet are flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Chia seeds, in particular, are considered a superfood due to their extremely high nutrient profile. They are super rich in omega-3s, even more than flax seeds. Plus, they are loaded with powerful antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, iron, and zinc. Seeds can be enjoyed many ways. They are great in smoothies, baked goods, nutrition bars, salads, trail mix, yogurt, and other foods.