Americans seem to be confused about dietary fat. I am often asked whether it is good or bad? The answer is “both”. You see, not all fats are created equal. Heavily processed, hydrogenated “trans” fats found in prepared, packaged foods (baked goods, fried foods, refrigerator dough, margarine, creamer) 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.
Many people are afraid of fats, but 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.
Healthy fats can be found in avocados, olives, coconuts, wild salmon, omega-3 rich organic eggs, whole nuts and seeds, and their butters like almond butter or tahini (sesame paste). 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.
Butter, ghee (clarified butter) and coconut oils are best for cooking at high temperatures like stir frying and baking. Try organic extra virgin olive oil when sautéing foods. Flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed oils are best for unheated sauces or dressings. Try this delicious, easy recipe for a great source of healthy fat:
Prep time: 3 minutes • Makes 1 cup
Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health Coach who specializes in helping people make their own healthy changes by providing private health coaching, nutrition education and wellness classes, and gentle weight-loss guidance and support. Schedule your complimentary coaching session and learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com.