A Guide To Choosing Healthy Fats 2021
Reviewed by Jaimee Gooley, R.D.
Written by Hannah Marchese
If you were born in 2000 or earlier, then chances are at some point in your life, you have likely heard that all fats are not healthy for you, especially when you are trying to lose weight. However, a lot of research has been done since the 2000s, and we now know so much more about foods than ever before. It turns out, not all fats are unhealthy. In fact, your body needs healthy fats to function properly.
If healthy fats are a totally new concept to you, then you probably have a lot of questions. Such as, which fats are good for you? How much fat should you incorporate into your diet? What foods have healthy fats?
Today, we will dive deep into choosing healthy fats and help you learn how to make healthy fat choices for your diet. Once you understand the important function that healthy fats play in your diet, you will never say no to a side of guac again. Let’s get started!
What Is A Fat?
First things first, what is dietary fat? Dietary fat is essential to living a healthy life. It supplies the body with energy, helps your body absorb vitamins, and regulates your mood. However, an excess of some types of fats can cause clogged arteries leading to heart disease and strokes.
There are two main types of fat, saturated fat and unsaturated fat. Most foods contain a mixture of the two. Saturated fat is the type of fat that you find in butter, lard, full-fat milk and cheese, and some high-fat content meats.
Saturated fat is solid at room temperature; think bacon grease. Unsaturated fat, on the other hand, is typically liquid at room temperature; think olive oil. Unsaturated fats are found in all different types of nuts as well as vegetable oils and fish.
Generally speaking, you want to try and incorporate more unsaturated fats into your diet rather than saturated fat. This is because unsaturated fats tend to improve your cholesterol levels, essential for heart health and blood pressure. But let's break it down even further. What types of unsaturated fats are there?
The two main types of unsaturated fats are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats include olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, the fats in most nuts, and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats include sunflower oil, corn oil, and soybean oil. In addition, polyunsaturated fats are also found in flaxseed, sesame, and pumpkin seeds. Polyunsaturated fats also include omega-3s, but more on that later.
Are All Fats Unhealthy?
The short answer is no. You just have to be careful about what types of fats you consume. Having some fat in your diet is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Your body needs clean and healthy fats to fuel your body and keep it healthy. This is where rich, unsaturated fat from nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and foods like avocado come into play.
They will help you get your necessary fats while protecting your heart health and preventing poor cholesterol. Not to mention, they can be pretty delicious as well.
How Can I Tell A Healthy Fat From An Unhealthy One?
It is a bit of a learning curve to figure out the difference between healthy vs less healthy. But, once you get the hang of it, you will see that adding healthy fats to your diet is easier than it may seem.
Here are a few tips on how to reduce unhealthy fats:
- When cooking: Cooking with healthy oils such as olive oil and canola oil instead of butter.
- Boost Fatty Fish: If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, you can work healthy omega-3 fatty acids into your diet with salmon or a fish oil supplement. However, you should always consult your doctor before you start taking any supplement.
- Increase Ratio of Unprocessed to Processed Foods: Most processed foods contain a lot of saturated fats. Instead, opt for healthy whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
As previously mentioned, healthy fats are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Luckily there are a ton of different sources for delicious mono and polyunsaturated fats. They can help improve overall health, boost your energy and can also increase satiety and satisfaction from your meals. When you eat a well-rounded diet, you will also feel more satisfied after a meal, reducing hunger and promoting healthy weight loss.
Trans fats are the fats you want to limit, also known as trans fats. Trans fats are often found in processed foods and can be severely detrimental to your health if over consumed. Of course, you can have unhealthy fat every once in a while.
The healthy cholesterol is HDL cholesterol, while the unhealthy cholesterol is called LDL cholesterol. Ideally, you want to keep your LDL levels low and your HDL levels high. If your LDL cholesterol is high, it can cause stroke, heart issues and clog your arteries.
Check food labels to ensure that there are no hidden trans fats in the things you are eating. If you see hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, then you should not consume the product as these are a hidden source of trans fats.
Try to limit commercially-made cake products like donuts, pastries, pizza dough, muffins, and cookies. These items are often made with trans fats like stick margarine or vegetable shortening. Trans fats can also be found in crackers, microwave popcorn, and chips.
Additionally, if you are eating out, limit fried foods whenever possible. Saturated fat is not as unhealthy as trans fat, but it is still not something you should consume too much of as it also can raise cholesterol. levels
Natural foods with saturated fats should be eaten in moderation. Foods with saturated fat include red meat, chicken skin, whole-fat dairy products, butter, and ice cream.
Omega-3s are the superstar of healthy fats. Omega-3s are a polyunsaturated fat that has several extra health benefits beyond that of a typical healthy fat.
According to several studies, there is a myriad of health benefits to eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including:
- Helps alleviate the symptoms of redness and swelling
- Support a healthy pregnancy
- Helps regulate your mood
- Helps enhance your memory
A common source for omega-3 fatty acids is fish like salmon, herring, anchovies, halibut, and many other kinds.
However, there are also several great plant-based sources, including algae, flaxseeds, walnuts, beans, kale, spinach, and so much more. You will be surprised by how easy it is to incorporate various omega-3 rich foods into your diet.
One of the best ways to control your healthy fat intake is by cooking at home. When you eat out, you don’t have any control over the amount or type of oil that you are eating. You can make smart oil choices like swapping butter for olive or canola oil when you cook at home.
If you cook at home, you can also limit the amount of healthy oil you use. This is useful because of the high-calorie content of even the healthiest of oils.
Oil is fat, so it will pack the calories no matter what type you use. But if you choose healthier oils in limited amounts, your body will be healthier in the long run.
How To Add Healthy Fats To Your Diet
Adding healthy fats to your diet is easy once you can identify some go-to options. Here are a few of our favorite healthy fat sources that are super tasty too:
Avocados are a delicious and easy way to add healthy fats to your diet. Plus, they are an excellent source of vitamin E. Just one medium avocado provides 21% of your daily vitamin E needs.
Additionally, vitamin E can help aid hair growth. This abundance of nutritious content plus the essential fatty acids present in avocados makes them a fantastic healthy choice.
Nuts are also a great source of fatty acids. Additionally, they are packed with vitamin E, B vitamins, and zinc, all of which your body needs to maintain superior health. Pick up some of your favorite trail mix or nut butter to get your daily fatty acids.
Similar to nuts, seeds also are a great source of fatty acids. Flaxseeds are particularly great because they contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Shrimp, Oysters, and Fish
If you eat meat, then shrimp, oysters, and fish are good sources of healthy fats. Replace a couple of meat meals with seafood, and you will be well on your way to a healthier diet.
Other Healthy Diet Essentials
Beyond healthy fats, it is also essential that your diet is full of well-rounded nutrition. Your body needs a wide variety of foods to keep it working its best. Ensure that you eat fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean proteins, legumes, and whole grains.
When it comes to a healthy, balanced diet, variety is key. If you are finding that you are having trouble fitting all of your nutrition into the day, then consider adding a nutrient-dense snack bar to round out your diet.
Kalumi BEAUTYfood Collagen Bars
Here at Kalumi BEAUTYfood, we make nutrient-dense snack bars that are packed with clean ingredients. Each bar is high in protein, with 11 to 13 grams in each bar making it a delicious and filling snack. Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars also contain marine collagen, the premium type of collagen, to help boost your skin’s youthful elasticity.
The best part is, Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars are a great source of healthy fats with almond or cashew butter in each delicious bar. These nutrient-dense bars make it easy to fill in the nutritional gaps in your diet. With so many irresistible flavors, the only tricky part will be picking your favorite one.
Almond Butter Chocolate Chip
Kalumi Almond Butter Chocolate Chip bars have the nostalgic taste of a chocolate chip cookie. This bar has almond butter, marine collagen, and sweet potato to give your body the fuel it needs and your tastebuds the flavor they crave.
Cocoa Crunch is the perfect snack bar for all chocolate lovers. Instead of eating a piece of chocolate to satisfy your craving, try our Cocoa Crunch bar for all the chocolaty flavor you could want. With 12 grams of protein, this is a chocolate bar that you can enjoy guilt-free.
So, put down the sugar and pick up this nutritional alternative.
If chocolate isn’t your thing, then you will love our Lemon Love bars. These citrusy power snacks are great for days when you need something light to help you finish the day strong. Forget lemon cookies; Lemon Love bars have the flavor to satisfy your sweet tooth, fuel your body, and fulfill your healthy fats for the day.
Sweetie Potato + Cinnamon
Do you love anything that comes in a pumpkin pie flavor? Then you have got to try our Sweetie Potato + Cinnamon bar. This tasty nutritional snack tastes like your favorite Thanksgiving pie, but without all the processed sugars. Switch out your pumpkin pie for the true superfood, sweet potato. With real sweet potato and other nutritious ingredients, this bar will power you up!
In general, your body needs fats to survive and thrive. Forget the rules of your 2000s fad diet. Fats can be good for you as long as you are choosing your fats wisely.
Limit fats from processed and fried foods like french fries, packaged baked goods, butter, and microwave popcorn. Instead, stick to unsaturated fats from natural, unprocessed sources like avocados, flaxseeds, seafood, and nuts.
If you're super busy and having a hard time squeezing all necessary nutrients into your diet, then you can always trust Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars to taste delicious and provide your body with the goods it needs to thrive.
Kalumi bars are great for people on the go and for people who want nutritious snacks that support healthy hair, nails, and skin. Since all of our bars contain marine collagen, they are a fantastic way to boost your skin from within. The only question is, which flavor will become your favorite?
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