Top 10 Picks for Incorporating Healthy Fats Into Your Diet
The human body thrives on a combination of three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Yet, dietary guidelines of the 1970’s started a low fat trend that persisted into the early 2000’s and is still going strong in some circles today.
Ideally your diet would consist of a diverse mixture of healthy dietary fat. Here's why.
Incorporating healthy fats into your diet has a number of benefits, including:
- Helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
- Essential to hormone production
- Increase satiety
- Provide the body with a source of longer term energy
- It makes food taste good. When you remove the fat, you have to add some other ingredient to improve the taste. Usually this ends up being sugar or artificial flavorings.
Types of fat
Saturated fats are found in animal fats and tropical oils, such as coconut or palm oil. They are highly stable and don’t go rancid easily.
Monounsaturated fats are found in oil from olives, avocados, and nuts. They are relatively stable and don’t go rancid easily.
Polyunsaturated fats are found in flax, nuts, seeds, and many fish oils. They are relatively unstable and go rancid easily. Because of this, it is suggested that these oils be purchased and stored in containers that do not allow light to penetrate and to not be exposed to heat. Two polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 and omega-6, are essential, meaning the human body cannot make them and must be consumed as part of a healthy diet.
- Adulturated Fats
While most fats will use some level of processing before being ready to be used by the consumer, there are other fats that will use high levels of processing to create artificial fat sources. Examples include: trans fats, hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated fats, and vegetable and canola oils. The way these fats are processed makes them inflammatory in nature.
Our Top 10 Picks for Incorporating Healthy Fats Into Your Diet:
1. Butter - Grass fed butter is an excellent source of saturated fat and vitamin K2. If your body can’t tolerate dairy, ghee may be an option for you. It is made by removing the milk solids from butter leaving the butter fat behind. Ghee also has a higher smoke point making it excellent for stir fry or roasting.
2. Avocados & Avocado Oil - Besides being delicious, avocados are a great source of omega-9 fatty acids. Enjoy them on taco night, mixed in your salad, or even as a first food for baby. Because of avocado oil’s high smoke point, it is a good choice for roasting and higher temperature cooking methods.
3. Coconut Oil - Unrefined coconut oil, a saturated fat, is high in beneficial lauric acid and makes a good substitution for traditional vegetable oils in baking mixes. It has a medium smoke point that would make it a good choice for pan sautés but not high heat cooking methods.
4. Olive Oil - Olive oil is a polyunsaturated fat full of omega-9. While there are many varieties, extra virgin olive oil is my go-to for salad dressings or finishing a dish.
5. Nuts - Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, and nut butters are a staple in our house. The ratio of omega-3, 6, & 9 will differ depending on the variety of nut. Soaking, sprouting, or fermenting your nuts can help reduce the phytic acid content which can block the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.
6. Meat - It’s not just a protein source. Meat is a good form of dietary fat as well as various vitamins and minerals, including B12. Grass fed beef (a source of omega-3) and pasture raised chicken and pork are higher quality and more nutrient dense than their conventional counterparts.
7. Seafood - Fish such as salmon and sardines are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and rich in essential nutrients. Not used to sardines? Try grilling them for excellent flavor.
8. Full fat dairy - For those that can tolerate dairy, full fat dairy is a good source of calcium, protein, and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Dairy products from pasture raised cows are the most nutrient dense. Try plain or vanilla whole milk yogurt with frozen blueberries and granola for a quick breakfast.
9. Eggs - Pasture raised eggs are an excellent source of omega-3 fats, protein, and vitamins and minerals such as choline, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Scramble eggs in butter for a delicious boost of nutrients. Boiled eggs are super easy to make in the Instant Pot and are a good addition to salads.
10. Chia Seeds - Chia seeds are another beneficial source of omega-3 fatty acids plus vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, manganese, and calcium. Try them in our favorite chia pudding for a delicious snack.
Don’t be scared to add a variety of healthy fats to your daily diet. As you can see, there are numerous benefits found in our top picks. Plus, your food will just taste better!
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