Fat has gotten such a bad rap in the past. Some people still feel hesitant about including it in their daily diet. While some fats can be extremely harmful to our health, other fats are immensely beneficial.
Fat is necessary for your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E. Fats are important for brain function and hormonal health. Healthful fats can also decrease inflammation in the body, soothe the nervous system, moisturize your skin and joints, and can lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol.
One of my favorite fats is hemp seeds as they are easy to add to smoothies, salads and other dishes. These tiny treasures contain omega 3 and 6 fats, 10 grams of protein in a 3T serving, and enough vitamins and minerals to be considered a supplement: iron, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc and maganese! The omega 3’s in hemp seeds are great for your skin, brain and heart. The omega 6’s found in them differ from the omega 6’s found in oils like canola, and are a potent food source for the mitochondria in your body.
Olive oil in another fantastic fat. 2 T of olive oil combats inflammation in the body better than a dose of ibuprofen. It also contains over 30 phenolic compounds that reduce oxidive stress in the body. I like the California Olive Ranch brand as it is 100% olive oil, made in the US, and tastes very fresh. Some of the olive oils imported from Italy actually contain soy oil.
Coconut oil is an example of a healthy saturated fat. It contains Medium Chain Triglycerides that provide the body and brain with a quick boost of energy. Coconut oil also contains anti-microbial compounds. It is a great substitute for butter if you don’t do dairy.
Butter and ghee are other examples of healthy saturated fats that contain vitamins A, D and E, all crucial for immune health. The fat soluble vitamins can also help the body absorb calcium. Grass-fed butter and ghee are also a source of CLA, which can help muscles recover faster. I highly recommend that if you use butter and ghee, you source the best-quality, grass-fed and organic kind you can buy. Toxins accumulate in fat cells within the cow’s body, which means you will be taking in those toxins if you regularly eat conventionally produced butter.
Fats from cold water fish are a terrific source of omega 3 fats. Because fish can be so contaminated by heavy metals, sardines and anchovies are probably the safest to consume.
Finally, avocado oil is a beautiful deep green oil that has 17 vitamins and minerals and his high in oleic fats. These can improve blood pressure. Other nut oils such as walnut and almond are equally beneficial and can be nice to drizzle over greens.
The fats to avoid are the highly processed, industrial oils. Canola, soy and corn are the three main plant crops that produce cheap vegetable oils. These highly refined oils are extracted with a solvent called hexane, a nervous system toxin derived from petroleum. These oils are then further bleached, deodorized and generally void of nutrients. Another huge one to avoid is hydrogenated oils, such as Crisco. Hydrogenated oils contain trans fats, which raises LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL (good cholesterol). They block the production of chemicals that combat inflammation and benefit the hormonal and nervous systems. In fact, they do the opposite and increase inflammation. Trans fats are dangerous and poisonous to your body. In short, avoid any fats that have been highly processed. Beware of some of your favorite foods, such as some peanut butter, as they contain hydrogenated oils.
Some signs that you may need to add more healthful fats to your diet and decrease or eliminate industrial fats include:
Fatigue and low energy
Poor skin, hair and nail quality
Menstrual cycle problems, including cramping
Anxiety, depression, restlessness, sadness
Hunger – especially if you are on a “diet”
Mental tiredness and lack of focus