The Skinny on Fats
Heavily processed, hydrogenated “trans” fats used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body. They can compromise the cardiovascular system, immune system, and contribute to behavior problems. They can also lead to weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, and liver strain.
That said, our bodies need fat for insulation, vitamin and mineral absorption, and to protect our organs. High-quality fats can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair, and nails, and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly.
Where to Find Healthy Fats
- Avocados, olives, and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with wild salmon and omega-3 rich organic eggs.
- Whole nuts and seeds, and their butters like almond butter or tahini
- Look for the highest-quality organic oils when shopping. Words to look for: organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and unrefined. Avoid expeller-pressed, refined, and solvent extracted.
4 Great Ways to Use Healthy Fats:
- For cooking at high temperatures (stir frying and baking), I use only pure, organic, unrefined coconut oil. It smells great, has a high smoking point and I take a portion of it into my bathroom to use on my skin. You can also use butter and ghee (clarified butter) to stir fry with, but I usually add one of those in the end to create a nice sauce.
- When sautéing foods, try organic extra virgin olive oil. If the olive tasted is too strong for you, then consider a lighter version of an organic olive oil. I always have a small bottle of organic canola oil on hand as well for certain dishes.
- Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or drizzled as a dressing. This preserves all their goodness.
- Use pure, organic, unrefined coconut oil in place of shortening in recipes.
Get even healthier!
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Adapted from Institute for Integrative Nutrition