One of the best things you can do for your body is give it healthy fats. When I tell my clients that the good kinds of fat are not only okay, but are actually a necessary part of a healthy diet, they are often surprised. Healthy fat is critical for weight management, for childhood development and for overall health.
It is important to note that not all fats are created equally. There are categories of fats and specific fatty foods which will not contribute to good health. In fact, there are fats which should be avoided all together, including vegetable oils, shortening and margarine. I know that is counterintuitive… Yes, eat your vegetables! But avoid vegetable oils which are inflammatory. Transfats, including partially hydrogenated oils, have a very long shelf life and add an appealing taste and texture to processed foods, should also be avoided.
To ensure you are eating health-promoting fats, especially fats from animal products, always consider the source. I recommend limiting foods with pesticides, antibiotics and hormones, so be particular about your dairy choices. Choosing organic, fresh, whole foods, and animal products that come from safe, sustainable sources is an important key to this. Don’t forget to also consider the source when eating from the sea, to ensure that your fish and seafood is lower in heavy metals.
Lastly, if you have been on a low-fat or fat-free diet for any length of time, it is important to start slowly when reintroducing healthy fats to your meals. Fats are digested with the help of enzymes your body may be a little low on after not needing them for a while. The best approach, like with most things in life, is to take small steps in adding some of these nutrient-rich foods back into your diet.
This list includes healthy foods I have in my kitchen, and it is by no means exhaustive. Some healthy fats you will find in my kitchen are:
+Nuts and Seeds
- unsweetened almond and cashew milk
- almonds and almond butter
- Brazil nuts
- chia seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- flax seeds
- organic, virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil
- organic, extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil
- organic flax seed oil
- avocado oil
+Whole Food Fats
- dark chocolate
- grass-fed, organic, sustainably raised lamb and beef
- organic chicken and turkey (the dark meat is very nutritious)
- omega 3 pasture-raised eggs
+Fish and Seafood
- wild fatty fish: sardines, black cod, and wild salmon
- shellfish: oysters, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and crab; calamari or octopus
- grass-fed butter
- pasture-raised eggs (cage-free is not enough. I prefer the eggs where chickens have been able to forage and roam, and eat grass as opposed to grain)
- safflower oil
- soybean oil
- sunflower oil
- corn oil
- cottonseed oil
- hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
A Nutrition Consultant does not diagnose or treat disease, but is an educator who can work in an integrative and complimentary fashion with a person’s medical treatment program. Information on foodandhearth.com is to be taken as recommendation and not medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.