Healthy Fats – Essential Fatty Acids and Oils To Improve Health

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You hear it everywhere, low-fat this and non-fat that! With all of the diets out on the market, there seems to be a lot of people who are worried about eliminating 100% of the fat from their diet so they can lose weight and drop extra pounds. Well, this article is about the healthy fats that should be included in your diet since they contain important essential fatty acids which are critical to your overall health, wellness and weight loss.

One of the key things to clarify is that you should not be avoiding all fats in your diet, just the unhealthy ones. Education about how to use oils is becoming more of a mainstream practice so we are no longer blindly ingesting toxic fats like trans fatty acids that are used in many fast food chains. Some oils can be heated hotter and longer than others but essentially you are changing the fat molecule and making them carcinogenic so it is best to use oil in cooking preparations like stir frying since it’s much quicker than most other cooking methods. Some oils should not even be heated at all as it kills all of their nutritious properties. Even nuts are meant to be eaten raw since roasting them turns the fat into a different form making it harder to get rid of, and in some cases even produces a carcinogenic effect.

Nut oils (coconut, walnut, peanut, pistachio, almond, hazelnut, Brazil nut, cashew, pecan, macadamia)
Nut oils can go rancid very easily so you want to make sure to keep them tightly capped and refrigerated. They are best consumed uncooked and should not be used for heating at high temperatures. Of course, I suggest eating the whole nuts raw by themselves versus using the oils because the oil is released into the system slowly when the raw nut is eaten. Some nuts should be eaten more sparingly but almonds and walnuts are ideal for all of the healthy benefits they provide.

Olive Oils (virgin, expeller pressed, extra virgin, lite)
You can find so many different types of olive oils that are flavored and great to add on top of food, or used for fast cooking like stir frying. As far as choosing whole food versus oil, I suggest eating the olives themselves rather than depending on the oils. Try to use the oils sparingly when cooking and drizzling over food (salad dressing). There is such a variety of olives available to us and I am not referring to the heavy marinades that many come in. You can find an olive for each different taste preference but most olive lovers like them all and enjoy a large variety.

Vegetable oils (corn, vegetable)
These seem to be commonly used for frying and are rather cheap to buy but they have little to no nutritional value especially when used for cooking. Many oils from vegetables are used for non-edible purposes. I tend to avoid this type of oil personally since there are so many other healthier choices out there.

Seed oils (sunflower, flax, sesame, pumpkin, grape seed, borage, and rape seed which is known as canola oil)
These are very healthy oils for supplementation when someone is on a very low-fat diet or when a person is looking for a healthy oil to add to their food. These are light oils except for the pumpkin and borage. Borage would be one I don’t usually use since it’s very high in omega-6 fatty acids. I tend to lean toward these seed oils to add flavor to my diet and I find mixed oil blends such as Udo’s Oil to be fantastic. I add this oil to my protein shakes or in my oatmeal for a nice nutty flavor. Remember, never cook with Udo’s oil and always keep it refrigerated.

Specialty Oils (truffle, fish)
Truffle oil is actually a truffle soaked in oil then used to make the truffle oil which is also known as an aphrodisiac. Truffle oil is probably the most expensive oil as is the truffle itself and is part of the mushroom family. This oil is used sparingly because of its high cost. Fish oils tend to be used for people who don’t eat fish and want to supplement their diet with these healthy fats. Cod, cod liver and salmon oils are very popular. I personally prefer the vegetarian oils which come in the seed versions.

It’s important to add some healthy and good fats to your diet, so take the recommendations in this article and choose a few to try out over the next 10-12 weeks. I bet you will feel much better and have healthier skin, hair and nails along with more mental clarity since eating healthy fats are essential for short-term and long-term brain health!

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About Author

Linda Cusmano

Linda is a national level fitness and figure pro who dabbles in bodybuilding competitions, obstacle and strength challenges along with fitness model competitions. She is a triple certified elite personal trainer and the owner of Body Rush Personal Training. See my profile page for more information!

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