Diets can be confusing, but knowing what you need in your diet and why can help unscramble some of that confusion. Fats are one of the confusing things. Everyone wants a “fat-free” diet. What they may not know is that some fats are essential in your diet and can even help your diet be more successful.
How do you know what fats are good and what fats are bad?
You have unsaturated fat and saturated fat. Unsaturated fat is good kind that is liquid at room temperature. They help reduce heart disease and can even lower your cholesterol level.Saturated fat is found in your fast food and baked treats. It is bad because it is known to increase your cholesterol level as well as increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. This fat is a solid at room temperature.
What about trans fat?
Trans fat has been put on a time limit to be removed from the food making process by the year 2018. The reason is because it is a cause of cancer, heart disease, and obesity in Americans. Any label that includes high fructose corn syrup has this fat in it. Its purpose is to extend the shelf life of products and make it look more appealing to consumers.
So where can you find good fats?
Good fats are found in non-processed foods. A small list of healthy fat foods include avocados,omega-3 foods, coconut oil, and real butter. These foods also come with extra benefits!
Avocados are able to raise your good cholesterol while taking down the bad. They also are packed with protein and vitamin E. They can be used in many recipes or just as a healthy snack!
Omega-3 is a good fat found in many different places, but most popularly found in fish like salmon. If you aren’t a fan of fish, you can also find it in some nuts such as walnuts or seeds such as flack seed. It is important to make sure you consume enough omega-3 rich food since our bodies don’t produce it on its own. Omega-3 also helps reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Coconut oil has recently become a big deal for its many benefits such as making hair look good and improving brain function. With coconut oil, it is recommended to purchase the extra virgin instead of refined or processed because those kinds have eliminated some of the health benefits.
Real butter contains omega-3 as well as omega-6 which help make your skin look healthy and keep your brain functioning properly. Another benefit to real butter is vitamin K2 that helps keep your bones strong and in good shape. Be sure to get the organic or grass-fed product to get the best benefits.
Is it possible to consume too much good fat?
Just like everything else in life, moderation is key. You will want to know your caloric intake and go from that. It will also depend on how you are getting your good fats because it can be easy to eat too much of one thing and not enough of another to get a wide spectrum of benefits. If you are on a diet you may want to consume less, if you are doing an intense workout program you may want to consume more.
How can I start getting away from bad fats and getting more good fats?
The obvious is to eat less processed foods such as fast food and box dinners. Find lean meats to prepare for your dinners and avoid processed meat like sausage and salami.
Another tip is to switch out your spreads, dressings, and oils to ones that use canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, or other nut oils.
Switching your snacking options is an easy change too. Potato chips and regular chocolate can be switched to almonds, walnuts, or dark chocolate with at least 70% coco if you have a sweet tooth.
While not recommended for children under 2 years old, switching to reduced fat dairy products is a good way to reduce some unnecessary fat intake. Young kids need it to grow strong bones and maintain energy during growing periods but the older you get the less you rely on high-fat dairy. Low-fat yogurt, cheese, and milk are good alternatives.
See? It’s not hard to get away from bad fat for your health!
Little changes to your lifestyle can make a big impact. Just switching out a couple of items a week and watching your intake can reduce your chance of heart disease, obesity, and other health risks associated with eating too much-processed fat. Make sure you are getting your healthy fats from a wide variety of sources so you can get other healthy benefits as well while enjoying unprocessed, good quality food. Your body will thank you in the long run!