When it comes to fat, it can often get a bad rap because people fear gaining weight, but not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats are an essential macronutrient that supports the body in a wide variety of processes such as cognition, mood, energy, satiety, weight management, skin, and more.
The foods we eat are made of macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and then converted to energy by the body. Fat is a source of essential fatty acids, which means the body cannot make itself, and we must obtain it through diet.
The following are key reasons to include more healthy fats in your diet.
1. Healthy Fat is Good for the Brain
The human brain comprises nearly 60% fat, and optimal daily amounts are necessary to support cognition. Cognition refers to the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding thought, experience, and the senses. A diet that is regularly low in healthy fats can contribute to a decline in cognition over time. Healthy fats such as Omega-3 fatty acids help support the brain’s health by reducing cellular stress and inflammation.
2. Healthy Fat Supports a Positive Mood
A healthy mood starts with a well-balanced diet rich in a variety of nutritionally dense foods, especially healthy fats. Adequate fat consumption helps the body maintain healthy blood sugar levels and provides satiety, both of which directly correlate to supporting a healthy mood.
Of course, quality matters when it comes to fat consumption, and Omega-3 fatty acids are essential building blocks for the brain that need to be obtained through the diet since the body cannot make them on its own. A low-fat diet can lead to depression over time, so choosing quality fats with each meal is a beautiful way to support a positive mood.
3. Healthy Fats Are a Source of Energy
Fats are used as a fuel source by the body and stored and converted to energy when needed. They provide the body with a slow, steady fuel necessary for sustained energy throughout the day. A healthy diet consists of adequate amounts of healthy fats each day to support energy levels, reducing the need for caffeine and other stimulants.
4. Healthy Fats Support Weight Management
Have you ever heard the saying, “Eat fat to lose fat?” A hormonal signal called leptin is released while eating that signal to the brain when the body is satiated. However, if there is not enough fat in the meal, the signal can be weakened and lead to overeating. It is always essential to include healthy fats with each meal to help support satiety.
5. Healthy Fats Assist in Vitamin Absorption
Fat is a carrier for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and supports their absorption. You might have heard the saying that “You are what you eat,” but it is more important to absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat. Sufficient amounts of healthy fats each day are essential to the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins to provide the body with the necessary nutrients to function optimally and encourage a healthy appearance.
Consuming your vegetables with healthy fat, such as a fat-based dressing made with olive or avocado oil, is a beautiful way to increase nutrient absorption.
6. Healthy Fats Encourage Glowing Skin
Healthy glowing skin is created from the foundation of a healthy body nourished with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and complete macronutrients. Healthy fats are essential for plump, moisturized, youthful and radiant skin. They help moisturize the skin from within and play an important role in hormonal health, directly influencing the skin. The whole body is connected and must be in harmony for glowing skin, so it is vital to embrace healthy fats as part of your beauty routine.
When it comes to fat, it is the type that matters. A healthy diet should include a balance of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with a moderate amount of healthy sources of saturated fats.
It is best to steer clear of unhealthy, highly processed fats such as refined vegetable oils, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils commonly found in processed junk foods.
Let us take a look at some delicious healthy fats to include in your meals to encourage better health and glowing skin.
Top 10 Healthy Fats
1 Avocado and Avocado Oil
Avocados are delicious and rich in healthy fats, and packed full of nutrition to support good health and glowing skin. Their rich fiber content helps support satiety and digestive health, which are critical factors for maintaining a healthy weight. As well as being rich in potassium and vitamin E to help slow the signs of aging, protect against free radical damage, and help the fat-soluble vitamins found in fruits and vegetables properly absorb. Avocados also contain vitamin K and antioxidants to protect the body from free radical damage while fighting the signs of premature aging.
2 Nuts and Seeds
The healthy fat content found in nuts makes them the perfect snack to support energy, satiety, cognition, and beauty. Nuts are an excellent quick and healthy snack with a wide variety of options to choose from, such as walnuts, cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and more. There is something for everyone. Each one provides a great source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber while being rich in various nutrients to support good health.
3 Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are an incredibly rich plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids while being relatively low in calories. Besides being a great source of healthy fats, these tiny seeds provide a good amount of fiber, protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins. You could say they are quite the fantastic food! They can be enjoyed in various recipes such as desserts, drinks, and even as an egg substitute.
4 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a unique healthy fat rich in over 30 types of phenolic compounds that are powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from free radical damage. Extra virgin olive oil is primarily made up of monounsaturated fat, a delicious staple of the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil can be used in various dishes and is a much healthier option than processed vegetable oils.
5 Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a great healthy fat that is easy for the body to digest and utilize as energy. This healthy fat is extremely popular with athletes for its ability to convert to quick and sustained energy and is frequently used by those looking to lose weight for this reason. It is an excellent option for those looking to support a healthy metabolism and increase endurance.
6 Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are a rich source of healthy fats but are often avoided by people who fear gaining weight. However, they are missing out on the most nutritious part of the egg. Egg yolks are incredibly nutrient-dense and contain Vitamin E, sulfur, amino acids, B Vitamins, and healthy fats, all of which help support cognition and a healthy appearance.
7 Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as anchovies, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and tuna contain anti-inflammatory properties and omega – 3’s that encourage better health by helping to fight free radical damage and reduce inflammation. The oils in fish also help lubricate the skin for a healthy more vibrant appearance. ⠀
8 Dark Chocolate
Who says chocolate cannot be good for you? This delicious and sweet treat should be praised for its excellent source of healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins such as potassium and magnesium. The rich antioxidant content found in dark chocolate helps to protect the body from free radical damage, while the flavanol properties support better heart health. Of course, quality matters, and the healthiest chocolate options are 70% cacao content or higher with minimal sugar.
This fantastic healthy fat is rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, supporting cognitive functioning for better brain health. Butter is also rich in vitamin A, containing important antioxidant properties that play a critical role in reducing inflammation by fighting free radical damage. Quality butter matters, and Organic and Grass-Fed butter have a higher concentration of vitamins and antioxidants while being free from antibiotics and hormones.
10 Full Fat Dairy
Those who can tolerate dairy full-fat organic dairy can be an excellent source of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. It can be a delicious addition to a healthy diet that provides the body with the necessary nutrients to function optimally.
However, not all dairy is created equal, and it is best to choose organic and grass-fed full-fat dairy when possible. Full-fat dairy can be a healthier option than low-fat products because the body needs the healthy fats to support overall wellness. Next time try a full-fat dairy option and see if you notice any difference. You might feel more satiated, energized, and have better cognition throughout your day.
As you can see, consuming healthy fats can be quite beneficial for both your health and appearance. It is essential to choose quality fats instead of highly processed ones that do not encourage good health.