Fat gets a bad wrap. As women get older it's important to understand how to have healthy fats in a well-rounded healthy food plan. I want to help you get your mind focused on the idea of healthy vs. unhealthy fats. We are also going to look at ratio and, of course, moderation.There is a lot of science to the makeup and metabolism of dietary fat. In order to simplify all the science let's break it all down into some bite size facts about fat.
The one unhealthy fat to always avoid is hydrogenated fat or trans fat and you can't always trust the labels on commercial foods that claim “no trans fats.”
For whatever reason, food companies are permitted to make that claim if the levels are below a certain number. The truth is if the ingredients label lists the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”, trans fats are probably in that food item. Best to skip anything with those words in the label.
You also want to be very careful about heating oils for cooking because this process actually ruins the healthy factors and turns the fat source into an unhealthy fat source. Best to add your extra virgin olive oil to your foods AFTER they are cooked for nutritional benefit rather than cooking in oil.
Let's break it down. . . What's with all the omegas?
Both omega-3 and omega-6 are what are called essential fatty acids (EFA). They are indeed essential to the health of our bodies BUT we have to get these healthy fats through foods or supplements. And in the right RATIO.
About OMEGA 3
Nutrition experts tell us we get the following benefits from taking in Omega 3s:
- Lowers levels of inflammation
- Better heart health
- Lower elevated triglyceride levels
- Improves autoimmune conditions
- Helps with ADHD
- May help prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
Certain fish like wild caught salmon has the most easily absorbable source of healthy Omega 3s.
There are other kinds of Omega 3s we can derive from nuts such as walnuts, or seeds such as flax or chia seeds and you can also find them in expeller pressed oils, wheat germ and even soybeans.
But before you start stocking up on mounds of nuts and edamame, take care to ensure your walnuts are raw and fresh. If they have an odor, their fat source has turned rancid and that means unhealthy. When it comes to soybeans it's best to observe moderation and check to see that they are certified organic. Sometimes soybeans can affect our hormone levels so best to consult with your health care practitioner.
How ABOUT OMEGA 6?
Omega 6 are easy to come by and often over-consumed. Our typical American diet is definitely too heavy on Omega 6s and this leads to heart disease and obesity. You will find omega 6s in animal protein, nuts, and eggs. This is where ratio is very important. We Americans tend to have our ratio all off kilter. Good news is, you can fix this with dietary adjustments.
So what about OMEGA 9S?
Omega-9s are the monounsaturated fats. Omega 9s also offer a lot of health benefits. They are important for heart health and blood sugar regulation and can be obtained in the diet through foods such as expeller pressed oils, nuts and avocados.
Finding THE RIGHT RATIO.
The simplest solution to ensuring you are getting your healthy fats ratio is to take in the following foods as part of a whole food plan that contains LOTS of dark leafy greens, a variety of other vegetables and fruits:
- Raw and organic seeds, like flax, seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
- Raw and organic nuts such as almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts
- Fish that are sourced from clean waters and found on the list of sustainable seafood
- Organic grass-fed or pasture-fed butter
- Small portions of animal protein that is free ranging and/or grass fed, which are higher in beneficial omega-6s
- Unprocessed organic expeller pressed oils such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
- MCT oil is easily digested, provides energy and good health benefits.
- Avocados are a source of omega 9 and they have special properties in their fat content that have been shown to have all kinds of health benefits
THE GIFTS OF HEALTHY FATS
Healthy fats derived from clean, healthy sources in combination with your whole foods diet rich in phytonutrients from veggies and high fiber fruits help your body to run like a well-oiled machine. Healthy fats in the right ratio aid in reducing inflammation, improve brain functioning, assist in having healthy skin, provide lasting energy and much more
Eating just the right ratio of healthy fats will help your metabolism to operate more efficiently! The key is to consider portions and moderation when adding healthy fats to your larger portions of vegetables throughout the day.
Tips for brining healthy fats into your life:
- Throw a teaspoon of chia seeds and a some organic pea protein to your morning smoothie
- Sprinkle some raw walnuts on your veggie-variety salad
- Opt for home-made salad dressings with expeller pressed walnut oil, canola oil or extra virgin olive oil
- Snack on small servings of pistachios or macadamias in lieu of popcorn at the movies
- Get a coffee grinder to be used for flax seeds only and grind fresh flax seeds to mix into your smoothies
- Opt for sustainable fish and try to eat for 4-5 servings each week