Fat is probably the most misunderstood macronutrient of the three. People just refuse to believe that it can be healthy and actually help them lose their own body fat. Even when the high carb, low-fat diet phase proved to be a failure of monstrous proportions, people still couldn’t grasp the fact that dietary fat is an ally of a fit body. Dietary fat increase your chance of getting fit and staying fit. It is so important if your goal is to become truly healthy. Fat regulates our hormone levels. Fat is absolutely essential for healthy hair, skin and nails. Fat controls our appetite by regulating leptin response. Fat also lowers insulin response when we eat carbohydrates with it. Fat also burns fat, at least some fats do, and do it well and that is the main point of this article. Now that we know we need to eat fat, how much fat to eat for our specific body and what kind of fats are best? All fat is not created equal and some fats are bad, just as some carbohydrates are bad and some proteins not ideal either.
Top Ten List of Healthy Fats To Eat:
10.) Organic, unpasteurized butter & cream: A little taste of the French Paradox here! Definitely worth it if you can find these, as they contain enzymes and CLA and are easy on the palette. Even better if they come from certified grass-fed cows.
9.) Olives: I typically prefer whole food sources to their somewhat refined counterparts, but in this case, I prefer extra virgin olive oil to actual olives. That isn’t to say olives are a bad choice. They are a fine choice, but salted brines and a lower antioxidant levels keep this down the list of healthy fats. But feel free to use them on salads, vegetable trays or right out of the jar for a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat. Cured olives have been a treat enjoyed by the masses throughout the ages.
8.) Peanuts and natural peanut butter: Peanut butter is one of my personal favorites, even right out of the jar. With a high dose of monounsaturated fat, some minerals and a bit of fiber, this is a wonderful addition to any sound diet, as long as you are not allergic of course.
7.) Organic flaxseeds and high lignan flaxseed oil: Most people who are already fitness conscious are probably surprised this isn’t number one. A vegetarian source of Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant lignans sure make this an attractive option when it comes to choosing oils. Omega-3 fatty acids are important, but there are better sources listed below and because it can’t be used in cooking, its use is limited. Try it in salad dressing or mixed into a bowl of yogurt or cottage cheese. Fresh ground flaxseed does contain a good dose of fiber and is a great addition to nutrition shakes or sprinkled on yogurt. Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil both have a shelf life and are photosensitive, so make sure you store it them dark containers, such as amber glass, and refrigerate upon opening. Just because these aren’t number one, doesn’t mean it is not a terrific food.
6.) Organic, extra virgin olive oil: The “extra virgin” means from the first cold pressing, meaning that it also retains all the nutrients of the olive, but even more concentrated, yet no salty brines. Besides being loaded in hormone regulating monounsaturated fat, extra virgin olive oil contains high levels of antioxidant polyphenols that are both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. That means they are anticancer and heart healthy. The polyphenols in olive oil have also been shown to improve skin health by reducing oxidative stress from sunburn and other environmental factors.
5.) Raw nuts, cold pressed nut oils and natural organic nut butters (excluding peanuts): Almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamias, etc. are tremendous healthy fats. Good sources of protein and fiber, while also a rich source of healthy monounsaturated fat, minerals, and Vitamin E. Try the nut butters if you don’t like nuts, just make sure there is no roasting or commercial processing involved. Dip apple slices or celery in them for a healthy and filling treat.
4.) Wild salmon and other fatty fish: These are still primarily a protein food, but the healthy fat inside cannot be understated. They key word here is wild, and this typically comes from Alaska. There are several varieties like Sockeye, Copper River and King and all are amazing foods. The difference between wild Alaskan salmon and farmed salmon (Atlantic salmon) is night and day. Wild salmon are free and active, eating their natural diet of algae and krill and the pink to red color is 100% natural. The wild salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids and the powerful antioxidant and carotenoid, Astaxanthin. Other good choices are sardines and anchovies. There is one drawback and that is that the oceans are becoming quite polluted and salmon is not as safe as it was several years ago. PCBs and heavy metals are wreaking havoc on our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. Unfortunately, toxins and chemicals tend to store themselves in fat and these are fatty fish. To be safe, eat these fish and/or salmon maybe 2-3 days a week maximum. You can also take a high quality purified fish or krill oil supplement.
3.) Organic, extra virgin coconut oil: There was a time, not long ago, this would have been considered a dangerous, artery clogging food recommendation. That’s because it is a tropical oil, and although vegetarian, a saturated fat. We have been programmed over the last 30 years to shun any and all saturated fats, mostly as a means to keep cholesterol levels under control. What has been discovered is that some saturated fat is not the health enemy it once was portrayed to be. The fatty acids in coconut oil are actually very different than in other foods in that they are primarily in the form of medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs. MCTs are fats that burn fat and provide energy. They act as a metabolic primer, stoking your internal fat burning furnace. The primary MCT in coconut oil is Lauric Acid, and this MCT is extremely healthy in that it has potent antimicrobial properties. This helps not only give the oil a long shelf life, preventing rancidity, but also helps protect our immune systems upon eating. You want to be lean and healthy, eat extra virgin coconut oil! It is also a great oil to cook with!
2.) Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil: Most of the same benefits as salmon and other fatty fish, yet much more concentrated in Omega-3 fatty acids. Full of the long chain Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, fish oil is one of the most anti-inflammatory and heart healthy supplements available. The key here is the pharmaceutical grade, as many fish oil supplements are not pure, even dangerous. Oceans are polluted and if precautions aren’t taken, PCBs and heavy metals stored in the fish fat will carry right over into the supplement. Make sure you can find a trusted brand of this grade and your health will reap tremendous benefits.
1.) Neptune Krill Oil: Another supplement, as opposed to a food source, but one worth talking about. Krill are shrimp or prawn-like creatures that are a primary food source of large ocean fish and great whales. Blue whales, the largest animals on earth, may eat as much as 4 tons of krill a day. Neptune krill oil is cold processed from Antarctic krill. Like fish oil, krill oil is full of the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Long chain omegas are more bioavailable than vegetarian sources containing smaller chain ALA. However, unlike fish oil, krill oil’s Omega-3 fatty acids are even more bioavailable due to phospholipid carriers inherent in them. Also unlike fish oil, krill oil is full of two powerful antioxidants, Astaxanthin and Canthaxanthin. In fact, the free radical absorbance capacity of these in Krill oil surpasses that of Lycopene, Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q-10, Lutein and Vitamin A combined TIMES FOUR. In fact, it has over 30 times the antioxidant power of costly and highly respected Coenzyme Q-10 alone. The critical thing to remember here is NEPTUNE krill that are cold processed from the icy pure waters of the Antarctic.
Now, I would suggest 50% or more of your total fat intake come from above preferred foods list. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat other fats like those inherent to protein sources, such as meat, poultry or dairy fat. It just means you should eat those foods more sparingly now and refocus on the healing nature of the fats above.
I hope this article was helpful. I believe you can have terrific health and active lifestyles well into your later years.