For too long, fat has been considered the enemy. As fat became replaced with low-fat and non-fat options, we were supposed to become thinner and healthier…but quite the opposite has happened. To compensate for the fat in processed foods, more sugar and additives were added. By this point, I have a hunch you suspect that’s not a good thing! Don’t be a victim of the war on fat. Did you know, our bodies actually need fat to lose fat? Another fun fact: eating low-fat foods doesn’t lead to any more weight loss OR less disease.
Not all fats are created equal, though, which is why cutting out processed food is a must! Basically, you can’t go wrong by eating less processed foods and sugars, and more healthy fats. Not sure where to begin getting those awesome healthy fats? Here are five fantastic sources.
Avocado is considered a superfood by many. It is a great source of vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, folic acid, lutein (eye health), potassium (1/3 more than a banana!), soluble fiber, glutathione (anti-aging and immune system boosting) and flavonoids (anti-inflammatory). Eating avocado regularly helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even prostate and breast cancers. Avocado can be cut and eaten plain, added to salads or smoothies, made into guacamole, or my personal favorite — mashed up with a little sea salt and spread on sourdough toast.
The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids found in butter help your brain function properly and improve skin health. These two fatty acids are considered essential, and the body needs them but can’t produce them on its own. They must be derived from food sources. Butter is also rich in fat-soluble vitamins and trace minerals, including selenium, a powerful antioxidant.
Skip the “butter-like” substances like margarine, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and all those other “vegetable oil spreads” found in stores. Look for real butter — preferably raw or from grass-fed, organic sources.
3. Coconut oil
My personal favorite oil, as it has so many uses! Coconut oil can not only adds a nutritious punch to your food, it can also be used to moisturize skin, de-frizz hair, and remove makeup, among other things. It’s rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are easy for your body to digest, not readily stored by the body as fat and small in size, allowing them to fill cells with energy almost immediately.
These kinds of fatty acids also improve brain and memory function. Coconut oil is also high in natural saturated fats, which are fantastic because they increase good cholesterol and promote heart health, while the antioxidants make it an effective anti-inflammatory food.
When choosing a coconut oil, I highly recommend extra virgin varieties, since refined or processed coconut oils can eliminate many of the health benefits. You can add coconut oil to your diet by cooking and baking with it, or even applying it directly on your skin. When cooking with just coconut oil, the flavor can be a little overpowering for some people. If that’s the case, try using less of it. It’s also important to note that at room temperature coconut oil is solid, due to its high content of saturated fat; so you may notice it completely liquify in those hot summer months and harden in the cooler months.
4. Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil has so many awesome health benefits, every diet should include it! Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is great for heart health, proven to reduce the incidence of heart attack or dying of heart disease, most likely due to its high levels of monounsaturated fats. This rich source of antioxidants helps protect cells from damage, helps improve memory and cognitive function, and works as an anti-inflammatory. Since so much disease stems from chronic inflammation, this is a big deal, ladies!
When choosing your olive oil, I recommend only extra virgin varieties, which means no chemicals are involved when the oil is refined. Sadly, many common brands are fake olive oil (say what??).
When shopping for olive oil, look for a seal from the International Olive Oil Council, and check if it’s labeled as “light,” “pure” or a “blend,” which is a red flag that it isn’t virgin quality. Finally, if possible, buy oil in dark bottles, as they protect the oil from oxidation. EVOO isn’t recommended for cooking at high temperatures because of its low smoke point. However, it’s a great go-to for salad dressings, sauteeing, or drizzling over breads or cooked foods.
There are three different types of omega-3s: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). The preferred sources of omega-3s are DHA and EPA, as is found in seafood like sardines and wild-caught salmon. ALA is found in some plant foods (leafy green veggies, brussels sprouts, watercress, spinach, kale), certain nuts and seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds), and high-quality meat like grass-fed beef. As mentioned earlier, the body isn’t capable of producing omega-3’s on its own. Therefore, we must rely on our diet to supply these much-needed compounds.
Make sure you’re getting at least 1,000 milligrams a day of EPA/DHA and about 4,000 milligrams of total omega-3s (ALA/EPA/DHA combined). Since getting enough omega-3 from diet alone can be a challenge, some people prefer supplementing with fish oil in addition to eating omega-3 rich foods
If you decide to supplement, look for omega-3 fish oil that contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that also helps stabilize fish oil. The premium choice of fish oil is made from wild-caught pacific salmon, which has high levels of DHA/EPA and astaxanthin.
Have at it, ladies! Cut out the crap, eat fat, and get sexy!