Growing up in the phase of low fat, where the fad was that we should only eat items with “low fat” or “nonfat” on the label, it might be confusing to understand why people are talking about the benefit of full fat and healthy oils. The odd thing is that generation has also seen a huge increase in obesity.
What happens when an item is labeled “low fat” or “nonfat”? Something has to replace the fat in the processed food and that item is typically sugar. This leads to the body’s increased feeling of hunger and the consequent storage of fat. If you are eating a diet with healthy fats, you feel full faster as the product is less processed, or not at all, and you’re more able to control what you eat. Obviously this means you will make healthier food choices.
The concern is over the saturated fats in meats and cheese. As a whole our society gets too many Omega 6 fatty acids (again, think meat and cheese), and not enough high quality fats. The health promoting fats help your body maintain its blood sugar level. Blood sugar that is out of control may lead to illness and disease. So it’s simple, really. Eat high quality foods, in particular, the oils and fats we need. You’ll feel better and will weigh less.
Foods we need to avoid include:
- Fried foods
- partially hydrogenated oils
- palm oils
- ease up on the hard cheese, baked goods and red meat.
Foods we want to choose more often include:
- nut butters
Oils to specifically implement into your diet include:
- Sesame oil
- olive oil
- safflower oil
The fatty acids we need for optimal functioning of the cells in our bodies, such as EPA and DHA aren’t hard to come by when you eat the foods mentioned above. These foods fight inflammation and maintain healthy skin. Your nails and hair will grow faster and more smoothly. Your nervous system will function more optimally and your vision will also benefit.
How much of these foods and oils do we need every day?
For oils the average serving size is 1 tsp and 4-7 servings per day is sufficient. That looks like a handful of olives, a quarter of an avocado and putting mayonnaise on your sandwich for lunch. Using walnut oil in your baking is a good idea and lends a great taste, and sauteing foods in coconut and olive oil.
For nuts and seeds, again, think in terms of a small handful. For nut butters, whatever you smear on your bread or rice cake or scoop into a small dish for dipping will be sufficient. You’ll want up to two servings per day of nuts and seeds.
What’s all this talk about supplementation? Here’s the thing: we get too many Omega 6 fatty acids from our meat and dairy consumption and not enough Omega 3 fatty acids. Try as we might, our lives (mostly) aren’t conducive to eating the foods we need all the time, so we will require supplementation. To choose a fish oil means finding a cold, dark water fish oil that is certified and without contaminants.