It seems there is always a something to pick on in the world of nutrition; carbohydrates, proteins, and fats have all had their turn as the “bad” nutrient at one time or another. Fat is a favorite one to demonize, since there are both healthy and unhealthy sources of fat in the diet. Even though registered dietitians like myself are trying to spread more accurate nutrition information about the health benefits of good fats, do you still find yourself avoiding certain foods because they contain too much fat?
Why is it good for you? Fat is an important part of a healthy diet, along with adequate protein and carbohydrates. It helps maintain cell structures in the body, and is a valuable source of energy. It also helps you absorb certain vitamins – A, D, E, and K.
Choose your fats wisely! The type of fat you choose can affect your health, both positively and negatively. Choose foods with unsaturated fats and/or omega-3 fatty acids to protect against heart disease. Eat fewer foods with saturated fat and hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Add a tablespoon of almonds or ground flaxseed to cereals, oatmeal, salads and stir-fries to increase your omega-3 fatty acids.
- Choose lower fat organic dairy products such as skim or 1% milk, cheese with less than 20% milk fat, and fat-free or Greek yogurt.
- Reduce and aim to eliminate your intake of processed foods like store-bought cookies, cakes and pastries, which are usually made with hydrogenated oils or saturated fats.
- Include more “fatty fish” such as salmon or sardines for more omega-3 fatty acids.
- Top sandwiches and salads with sliced Hass avocado, or even mix in avocado to tuna salad instead of mayonnaise.
Are you guilty of avoiding even the healthy fats? What’s your favorite source of healthy fats – I love adding avocado to my meals! Leave me a comment and let me know!
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Assistance provided by Megan Skinner