What We Eat: What Are Healthy Fats?
There are three types of fat: trans, saturated, and mono/polyunsaturated.
According to our registered dietitian at a2 Milk®, trans fats should be strictly limited since they affect your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Trans fats are plentiful in baked and fried foods via ingredients like shortening and hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Saturated fats are found in various plant and animal products such as coconut oil and a2 Milk®. Foods with saturated fats may be enjoyed in moderation to stay within the most recent Dietary Guidelines recommendation of consuming less than 10% of calories per day from saturated fat.
For a well-rounded diet, consider rounding out your meals or snacks with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats derived from plant-based sources. These foods contain beneficial omega fatty acids, which promote normal functions of the brain and nervous system and may reduce inflammation in the body, among other benefits.
Where Can I Find Healthy Fats?
Think about nutrient-dense whole foods and you'll be on the right track. Here are a few of our favorites!
Olive Oil: This tasty condiment adds a rich flavor to vegetables, proteins, and breads. Try drizzling olive oil over steamed potatoes or oven-roasted asparagus in lieu of butter. Or, mix up a homemade creamy herb salad dressing using olive oil. You can also use the oil as an Italian-style condiment for crusty rolls. Next time you make your morning eggs or sauté veggies, put a splash of olive oil in the pan.
Whole Nuts: When it comes to snacking, reach for nuts. The healthy fat and protein will help you feel full between meals. You can add more nuts to your diet by eating them whole in a trail mix or by adding them as a garnish on your meals. Nuts are also a perfect addition to your sweet treats, like our recipe for Blackberry Pecan Breakfast Cake. Do you love the added flavor of spicy chopped peanuts on an Asian noodle bowl or crispy toasted walnuts on a salad? We do too!
Avocados: This popular green fruit is incredibly versatile. Avocados blend well into a Green Smoothie recipe, can be mixed into a healthy salad with cucumber, pureed into a sauce or even transformed into a nutrition-packed brownie! Get a little creative, and you'll be putting avocado on everything, from hearty soups to poke bowls.
Fatty Fish: Whether you're grilling salmon or adding sardines to a salad, they'll both add a healthy dose of fat to your meal. Heading out to dinner? Opt for fresh mackerel, especially if it's prepared with olive oil, to get a double dose of healthy fats from fish in your diet.
The Mayo Clinic reassures us that some dietary fats promote good health when enjoyed in moderation, even improving your ability to absorb some nutrients. So, eat up!