Eating fat is a good thing, really. It’s not bad for your health, but it is the types of fat we consume that can make a positive difference. So let’s get smart about the kinds we ingest and the benefits they offer us.
Fatty foods have different chemical structures and our bodies respond best to monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, especially the omega-3 fatty acids. Second to this list are omega-6 fatty acids and saturated fats from wholesome sources and taken in moderation. Trans-fats, basically a form of liquid plastic, are to be avoided and fortunately the government is requiring they be removed from processed foods. Caution is advised in regards to the “fat-free” label because these dairy products tend to bulk up on sugar and starch instead.
Here is a cheat sheet of the good stuff for you:
- Monosaturated fats – Enjoy olive, canola, peanut oils, avocados plus many nuts and seeds to help lower blood cholesterol. Eat more of them!
- Polyunsaturated fats – Getting more specific, there are two kinds here: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Ideally we should eat an equal balance of the two. Most people overdo on the “6’s” due to eating processed food. Omega-3 is found in seafood, walnuts, flaxseed and eggs, for instance. It makes tissues flexible and decreases inflammation. Omega-6 can increase inflammation and is found in corn, sunflower and grapeseed oils.
- Saturated fats – Once considered the bad guys, the kind in meat and dairy, palm and coconut oils are ok as just 10% of our daily calories. Ghee, clarified butter, is a staple of Ayurveda with a wide variety of internal and external uses beneficial to many. It’s important to always choose hormone and pesticide-free products to minimize inflammation and hormone havac.
- A few more details – Organic meat and dairy contain 50% more omega-3 good fats. So it is worth the extra cost. And extra-virgin olive oil, coconut and sesame oils should not be heated above 350 degrees. It damages their benefits to you. Finally, treat yourself to some dark chocolate. Who says healthy has to be dreary?