Switching your fat intake from bad fats to good fats could be one of the best (and best tasting) decisions you ever make! Not only will your body thank you, but also your taste buds will benefit from the change.
With all the nutritional information out there it can be tough to keep everything straight. While fats and oils were once vilified all together, new studies have found that healthy, unrefined fats and oils (monounsaturated fats) have important properties for good mood, satiety, (and therefor losing or maintaining healthy weight), and brain health. Fats also help carry important vitamins like A, D, E, and K into the body. On the opposite polyunsaturated refined fats and trans fats – that you find in most processed foods – are damaging to your body. So healthy fat does offer great benefits for our bodies— and our minds. Read on to learn how to make fat work for your body.
Essential fatty acids – that is omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids – are important for the body and must be obtained from food. These are ideally consumed in the same ratio (1:1), western diets often contains way too many omega 6 fatty acids (16:1 ratio). This can contribute to cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammation and autoimmune disease.
An abundance of omega 6 fatty acids can be found in polyunsaturated oils (vegetable oils). To ensure to re-balance the ratio, eat a range of organic fats from animal fed their native diets (grass fed, pasture fed) along with unrefined extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil.
Here are some examples:
- Grass or pasture fed animal fats – egg yolks, raw butter; ghee; lard from pork; chicken and duck fat; tallow and suet from beef or lamb.
- Coconut oil (extra-virgin)
- Flaxseed oil (store in refrigerator and use in small quantities)
- Hemp-seed oil
- Olive oil (extra-virgin)
- Pumpkin-seed oil
Best sources of healthy fats are:
- Organic fish & meet
- Extra-virgin unrefined oils
Cooking with fats:
Cooking with polyunsaturated fats vegetable oils causes them to turn rancid, which creates unhealthy conditions in your body, such as upsetting the cholesterol balance and promoting immune problems and heart diseases.
Keep in mind that most oils are meant to be drizzled onto your food after cooking. The following fats and oils however are meant for cooking:
- Animal fats
- Coconut oil
- For deep frying only use tallow or lard
- For temperature under 400 degrees or for light sautéing – olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, and sesame oil.
Is Fat Really Good for My Brain?
Yes. Believe it or not, our brains are composed of 60 percent fat . That being the case, it should come as no surprise that our brains need fat to work correctly. And even though the brain accounts for such a small portion of our bodyweight, it utilizes 20 percent of the body’s metabolic energy.
The Takeaway: Making Fat Work for Your Body
The trick to finding a happy medium between eating too much and too little fat is to seek out whole, unprocessed food sources of healthy fats and eat them in moderation. By embracing healthy sources of fat, you can help to ensure optimum body & brain function for years to come.