So, we have done both proteins and carbohydrates. Now, what we have left is fats! There is a misconception that fats are well…what make you fat. Fats are actually super important for our bodies. Though, just like carbohydrates, not all fats are created equal. There are 4 different types of fats found in our foods.
Here is a basic explanation of the different types of fats:
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats: This is the “heart healthy” fat. According to Young Women’s Health, research shows that monounsaturated fats may lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase your HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Polyunsaturated fats are particularly known for their omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Way back when, humans evolved on diets that consisted of marine life and inland plants. This provided a surplus of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Examples: Avocado’s, olive oil, almonds, cashews, peanut butter, walnuts, safflower oil, flaxoil, fish oils
Saturated and Trans Fats: These are your less healthy types of fats. They have the opposite effect on the body as what the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated have. Instead of lowering your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, they increase it. This increases your chances of having heart disease or stroke.
Trans fats in particular have a negative reputation for its “hydrogenated” properties. What does this mean? Well, scientifically speaking, it is when unsaturated fats are taken ( when soft or liquid st room temperature) and bubbling hydrogen ions through it. This hydrogenates it when means it hardens at room temperature. Companies hydrogenate fats for longer shelf life.
**High trans fat intake is linked to many diseases including: A higher risk for Alzheimer’s, Lymphoma, increased liver cholesterol synthesis, competition for essential fat update, the exaggerating of essential fatty acid deficiency.
Examples: potato chips, sugar baked goods, french fries (anything fried), margarine to name a few…..
Okay, now that we have gotten past all the “science” stuff, lets discuss why fat is important to incorporate into our everyday food intake…
Well first. the healthy fats you eat give your body the energy it needs to work properly! Some other benefits include:
There is a reason we have three macro nutrients: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Our bodies need a sufficient amount to run and work our bodies properly. When we are too low or too high in one, our bodies become off course. Again, the amount that everyone takes in will be different because our bodies and goals are different, but it is important that our bodies receive all three.
My absolute favorite fats include:
Almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.
Olive oil, safflower oil, etc.
Lean red meat (flank is great!)
*Coconut oil : coconut oil is actually considered a saturated fat, but it is a specific type that is called a medium-chain triglyceride and is processed differently by the body than other saturated fats.
** I love melting coconut oil on my sweet potatoes or used as butter on my toast!
I would love to hear what your favorite healthy fats are and how you incorporate them into meals!!