Now here’s a nutrition “hot topic”. Even if you haven’t jumped on the Keto Craze bandwagon, thinking about adding some more healthy fats in your day to day routine should definitely be on your agenda. Healthy fats have been ignored and underrated for long enough and it’s time to make room for them in your diet and nutrition plan.
Did you know that fats are essential for optimal health and are integral for many key processes in the body?
- Fats are part of every cell in our bodies, performing countless important functions. When we are not eating enough fats this literally affects our body at its basic cellular level. (1)
- They are building blocks for hormones, which act as chemical messengers in the body and are involved with stress management, mood, and energy levels. (2)
- They are carriers for our fat soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K). Without fat, we cannot properly assimilate these key nutrients. (3)
- Fats are a concentrated source of energy and can help balance blood sugar levels. (4)
It is important to include a variety of different types of fat into your diet, as they all have unique functions in the body:
We have been taught to fear saturated fats however; it’s not the monster it was once made out to be. Research shows us that not only might saturated fat not be harmful, it may also be healthy. (5) Quality is key here, though, as not all saturated fats are created equally. My top picks for healthy saturated fats include: coconut oil (6), MCT oil, grass fed butter (7), and ghee.
This type of fat is more widely accepted as a healthy choice and has been long been a staple in the well-researched Mediterranean diet. (8) Olive oil is the most common monounsaturated oil in most of our cupboards and pantries and it definitely still deserves a place there. Make sure you purchase olive oils that are labelled cold pressed and are in a dark glass bottle. This protects the oil from heat and light, which can damage these vulnerable oils. When cooking, use olive oil only to medium temperatures.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are those which the body can’t produce on its own and are therefore “essential” for us to obtain through diet. They have been shown to improve body composition, mental and physical performance (9), and reduce inflammation (10) among other things. Include things like cold water fatty fish, chia, hemp, flax, and walnuts to boost your omega 3 intake.
What are your favorite fats and oils? Comment below – we’d love to hear from you!