When we think of the word “fat” most of the time it is in a negative mindset. We all work hard to lose fat and keep it off. The truth is 20-40% of the diet should be coming from fat. The key is getting this from healthy fat sources and avoiding the unhealthy sources. There are three kinds of fats that should be looked at: saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Each one of these should make up 1/3 of your totaL fat intake for a healthy body composition. Here are some simple tips to help differentiate and identify these three kinds of fat.
1. Saturated fat: This is the kind of fat that is solid at room temperature. These are the fats most people overeat such as butter, cheeses, dairy and meats. These products should be limited, but that does not mean they have to be avoided at all cost. In moderation saturated fats are acceptable.
2. Monounsaturated fat: Typically found in almonds, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, olive oil and avocados. These are healthy sources of fats that also have a good fiber content in them, making them a good choice to consume on a daily basis.
3. Polyunsaturated fat: The other source of fat can be found naturally in many seeds and nuts. Seeds and nuts also provide a good source of protein and fiber. These fats come from fish oil, hemp seeds, safflower and sunflower oil, peanuts, canola oil, soy nuts, flax seeds and chia seeds. Like monounsaturated fats, these polyunsaturated fats should be incorporated into our daily diets for a healthy fat intake
4. Omega-3: These fats are beneficial for the cellular membranes, cardiovascular health, nervous system function and a healthy immune system. Among these, omega-3 fats have also been linked to blood vessel dilation, anti-inflammatory and decreases in pain throughout the body. These omega-3 fats are most commonly found in flax, walnuts, fish oil and algae.
Some easy ways to substitute a healthy fat for an unhealthy fat is to replace things such as mayo, sour cream and creamy salad dressings with healthy options such as avocado, Greek yogurt and vinegar based dressings. Another change you can make that is easy and will increase the amount of health fat you consume is to replace beef of fatty meat with fish, lentils or beans.
By incorporating these foods and fat sources into our diet, we can guarantee a healthy fat intake that also has other health benefits to aid in overall wellness and a healthy body composition.
What about carbs? Not sure if they are good of bad for you? Check it out HERE: