Fat is important, we all need it. However, some fats like Trans Fats attack the body, while healthy fats nourish and fuel the body. Here are the top 10 fats I make sure to include in my diet throughout the week to make sure my body is up to par with a full spectrum of nutrients.
Avocado is a classic example of healthy fat, and it’s so versatile in recipes as well. They are full of carotenoids and help you absorb other nutrients that you ate it with; so having sliced avocado is a great way to take advantage of this. They are packed with water, are easily digested yet make you feel full – thus making it a great option in your lunch to keep you from snacking throughout the afternoon. I love avocados so much, I can’t help but add a little sea salt and dig in!
Try this Easy Breezy Bean Dip which is great alongside a salad!
Coconut oil is amazing, not only does it make a great product to use topically, like on your skin, but is incredible for what it can do internally for your body. This oil is made by pressing the coconut meat, extracting the oil from the plant and is completely shelf stable, doesn’t need to be refrigerated and won’t go rancid like most other plant oils. Coconut oil is made of certain kind of fat, known as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s) and actually serve to give the body energy, and uses it more like sugar than fat.
I recommend using it for cooking in place of olive oil, and for baking in place of canola oil.
And if you want to add coconut oil to your skin I like to mix This Fractioned coconut oil with a little lavender essential oil and use it as a moisturizer.
Raw almonds are great as they can be used in so many ways! I love making dressings and sauces with almond butter, often times add them chopped to a salad and even use almond flour for baked goods. They are simple in flavor, but do a wonderful job at curbing hunger. They’re also made up of mostly monounsaturated fats, which are the same type found in olive oil. Almonds are a great way of lowering your risk of heart disease – simply swap out the fat from animal products with fat from almonds and you’ll decrease you’re risk by 45% - according to a Physicians Health Study.
Try my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars for easy ways to incorporate this healthy fat into your diet tonight!
Walnuts are another favorite around my household. They’re a great addition to salads and desserts because of their creamy, nutty flavor and crunchy texture. Walnuts are a great snack as well, eating just 7 of them can give you a good feeling of satiation, helping you cut back on impulse snacking. The antioxidants and level of Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, which is rarely among other nuts.
For a simple and tasty way of eating walnuts, try my Candied Walnut & Pear Salad
Another great source of healthy fat to include in your diet is pumpkin seeds. Most pumpkin seeds that you’ll find in the store actually come from China, but luckily they don’t go bad for 12 months if stored correctly and are often times organic. They’re a wonderful source of antioxidants and Omega-3, similar to other nuts, but they are notable for their rich zinc content as well. Zinc is important for many different things, such as immunity, sleep, insulation regulation and eye/skin health.
Pumpkin seeds are a great addition to your salads and even smoothies for an extra boost in minerals. Try adding 2 tbsp to the Berry Maca Chocolate Smoothie
There are many reasons Why You Should Include Hemp in Your Diet (link to hemp post) and Hemp Seeds are right up at the top of that list. They’re a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids, they’ve got a perfect Omega Fatty Acid profile of 3:1 (Omega 3: Omega 6) and help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Incorporate more of these guys into your diet by sprinkling the seeds over salads, hemp protein in your smoothie or hemp oil in salad dressings.
These little seeds are one of my all-time favorite superfoods. They’re a huge hit with the kids and pack a healthy punch as well. They are full of antioxidants, omega 3’s, protein, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Because chia seeds are so well rounded in terms of nutrients, they make a great meal when prepared in a chia pudding – they have the same gelatinous consistency of traditional puddings but are a far healthier option than a snack pack! Try our Pumpkin Chia Pudding to see what I’m talking about.
Flax seeds are another great choice for a healthy fat. They are actually very similar to hemp seeds, and can be ground into flax meal and cold pressed for flax oil. If eggs and fish aren’t in your diet, flax seeds are a perfect supplement for Omega 3’s. However, the body has a difficult time absorbing the nutrients if they’re consumed in their whole, unprocessed state because of the tough outer shell. Ground the seeds into flax meal, or buy it at the store for a great egg alternative. Simply mix the flax with water (1 part flax, 3 parts water) and let sit for 5-10 minutes for a “Flax Egg”.
One of the most delicious sources of healthy fats is cacao (pronounced ka-cow). Cacaco beans are essentially the raw, unrefined root source of modern day chocolate powder, or cocoa. When the beans are pasteurized and processed to reduce the bitterness, all of the amazing powerhouse nutrition is stripped from the food. However, eating them raw, in say cacao powder in your recipes, you’ll still get all of the original nutrition nature intended.
Cacao is 54% monounsaturated fat, 11% protein and 16% fiber making this a heart healthy bonus for homemade desserts and treats with a touch of protein. My favorite recipe right now with cacao is my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
I’ve always enjoyed eating olives. They’re make a nice, quick snack that curbs my hunger before dinner, and also go great in these Bean Dip with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, and yes, some pitted olives on top! Like most of the fats listed here, olives consist primarily of monounsaturated – which may reduce your risk of heart disease by almost half.
When choosing olives, try to get them in a glass jar, or from the olive bar at the grocery store. Beware some stores often times use GMO canola oil to preserve them, so ask beforehand. When buying olive oil, make sure it’s ‘extra virgin’ to ensure it’s just the juice from the olives and no other chemicals were added during the manufacturing process.
As you can see there are lots of options for healthy fats. I hope you give some of my recipes a try and let me know which healthy fat’s you are adding to your diet this week.