Healthy Fats: Choosing the Right Foods for Your Diet
Fat gets a bad rep, but it’s actually a beneficial macronutrient for the body. Dietary fats provide energy, protect vital organs and help the body absorb vitamins and nutrients. The only catch? Not all fats are equal. There are good fats and bad fats, so it’s important to choose the ones that are going to support your body.
Keep reading to learn about healthy fats and how to choose the right foods for your diet.
Here’s the skinny on bad fats, also known as trans fats: there are two different types of trans fats. The first is naturally occurring. It’s formed in the gut bacteria by animals that provide meat and dairy, such as cows and sheep. An example of this type of fat is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
The second type of trans fats is artificial fats. These are artificially made from partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). Also known as trans-fatty acids, this is the worst type of fat to consume since it’s a double whammy to your health. It raises your LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowers your HDL (good cholesterol).
This results in serious consequences for the body, such as raising your risk of heart disease, fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes. Trans-fatty acids are considered so harmful to the body that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned U.S. food manufacturers from adding PHOs to food in 2018.
Some examples of bad fats in food include:
- Refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, pastries, breakfast cereals)
- Fried foods
Healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats usually stay liquid at room temperature. Foods that contain these fats include olive oil, avocados and pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower, walnuts and fish.
Health benefits of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats in your diet include:
- Reducing hunger
- Improving cholesterol
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing inflammation
- Providing energy
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
You can’t talk about healthy fats without talking about omega-3 fatty acids. There are three different kinds:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
You can find ALA in plants and EPA and DHA in fish, especially fatty fish. These fats support brain function, energy and a healthy heart. Since your body can’t produce it on its own, it’s important that you get this healthy fat through your diet.
The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fatty fish per week, such as salmon, anchovies, sardines, herring and mackerel. Try to avoid eating too many servings of larger fish (tuna, swordfish, etc.) that contain higher levels of mercury.
Saturated fats are found in animal products and some plant oils. They are typically solid at room temperature and are found in foods like butter, lard, fatty cuts of meat and full-fat dairy products.
But is saturated fat bad for you? This is a topic of ongoing debate in the field of nutrition, and the answer depends on several factors.
Additionally, the quality of your entire diet matters. For example, if you consume a diet high in saturated fats but neglect other nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, it may not be healthy or sustainable. The impact of saturated fats on health can vary from person to person. Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet.
Foods with Healthy Fats
Whether you’re looking to meet your macronutrient goals or learning about healthy fats on a keto diet, there are a large variety of foods that can be incorporated into your diet.
Here are some of our favorite food sources of healthy fats:
- Olive oil: Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which makes it high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. To reap the most benefits with every tablespoon, choose “extra virgin” olive oil, an unrefined cold-pressed oil.
- Avocados: Good news for avocado toast lovers! This fruit is made almost entirely out of healthy fats. One medium avocado contains 15 grams monounsaturated, 4 grams polyunsaturated and 3 grams saturated fats.
- Fatty fish: As one of the healthiest foods on the planet, you can’t go wrong with this healthy fat. Eating fatty fish is a good source of omega-3 acids, which has heart-healthy benefits. One study of more than 40,000 American men, found that those who consume fish one or more times per week have a 15% lower risk of heart disease.
There are many other healthy-fat foods to eat on their own or whip into these healthy fat recipes. This includes:
- Whole eggs
- Dark chocolate
- Nuts and seeds
- Greek yogurt
Supplements with Healthy Fat
For most people, eating enough bad fats is a simple task. Just fill your plate with foods like pastries, ice cream and fatty meats.
But it can be an uphill battle to ensure your diet is rich in healthy fats. That’s where supplements can help.
One supplement that helps support healthy fat consumption is fish oil that contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Bulletproof Omega Krill is a great option that offers brain and heart support.
Another option for a steady stream of brain power and energy is Brain Octane MCT Oil. It’s sourced from coconut oil, a healthy fat, and turns into ketones within minutes to rev up your energy and metabolism. Both products are a great addition to your supplement routine.
How much fat do I need?
The amount of fat you should eat per day depends on your daily caloric intake. It can also depend on whether you’re doing a certain type of diet, such as a low-fat diet or keto.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting your calories from saturated fat to less than 10% of the total calories you eat and drink each day. The American Heart Association is much stricter, with a recommended daily percentage of 5% to 6%.
Here are some ways to incorporate healthy fats and decrease unhealthy fats in your diet:
- Learn how to read food labels so you can determine if a food’s fat content is high, medium or low.
- Cook with extra virgin olive oil rather than vegetable oil or butter. Other healthy fats for cooking include coconut oil, avocado oil, canola oil and sesame oil.
- Eat a diet rich in whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and whole grains.
- Make healthy food swaps, such as slathering avocado on your toast rather than margarine and snacking on almonds and walnuts rather than processed chips or crackers.
- Swap out margarine for ghee, a clarified butter. Our grass-fed ghee is a healthy alternative that we make from cows in New Zealand. Use it for cooking or mixing it into your favorite Bulletproof Coffee.
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