What’s up, David McCready here, hope you’re having a stellar day. A few posts back we learned about good and bad carbohydrates. Today you’ll learn about good fats to eat.
Read on to discover good fats to eat…
Essential Fatty Acids
Let me clear the air on something: Eating more calories than you expend makes you fat! Not the fat itself!
Yet all the popular diets (especially ten years ago or so) would have you believe that fat makes you fat. You remember the “low-fat” diet craze. Even look at the labels on the foods in your local grocery store, a vast majority are still promoting “low-fat”
INSIDER TIP: Gram per gram, fats have more calories than proteins or carbs. That means that it’s really easy to overeat these foods, translating into more calories consumed than burned.
Honestly, that “low-fat” marketing is probably a good thing. Most processed and packaged foods have the wrong kind of fat, AKA the “bad fats” like trans-fat & saturated fat. This bad fat is not essential to your body. You should really avoid packaged/processed food, desserts and sweets(like cookies & pastries, etc) as these are all loaded with bad fats that clog up your arteries and put you at risk for heart disease.
Here are the two main types of good and bad fats:
- Unsaturated Fats. These are the good fats, the ones you want in your diet. Underneath this main category you’ll often see fats such as polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, both of which can help you lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
- Saturated Fats (and trans fats). These are the nasty fats that clog arteries and put you at risk for heart disease. As I just mentioned, you’ll find these bad fats in processed foods and dessert foods. But you’ll also find them in meats, such as the fat on a piece of steak or the skin of a chicken. That’s why you should trim the fat from your meats. You’ll hear a couple of dudes try and argue that it’s good for you, but it’s not. I suggest you choose lean cuts of meat whenever possible.
Another name for the good fat is essential fatty acid (EFA). These EFAs include:
- Omega 3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid)
- Omega 6 fatty acids (linolenic acid, gamma-linolenic acid)
- Omega 9 fatty acids
But here’s the thing: Your body doesn’t produce most of these essential fatty acids on its own. While it does produce small amounts of the omega 9 fatty acids, you need to eat omega 3 and omega 6 acids to give your body the fat it needs to function properly.
You can find EFA’s in these foods:
LEGUMESÂ Like pinto, kidney and mungo beans provide essential fatty acids with a nice omega-3 to omega-6 ratio
SEAFOODÂ Many types of fish and seafood are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Deep-water fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel burst with omega-3, and are low in omega-6. Anchovies, sardines, cod, halibut, herring, mullet, trout,Â Alaskan king crab and mollusks areÂ also rich in omega-3.
FRESH FRUIT Cantaloupe and papaya have more omega-3 than omega-6 acids, helping to restore the imbalance that many Westerners have. Papaya has four times as much omega-3 as omega-6 fatty acids, according to Self Nutrition Data.
VEGETABLESÂ Dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, spinach and seaweed, increase your omega-3 acids when eaten routinely. Other green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, grape leaves, Chinese cabbage, parsley and spring greens also provide a decent dose of omega-3 acids. Cauliflower and winter squash aren’t green, but they still enhance your efa balance.
OILSÂ The primary source of omega-6 fatty acids in Western diets is from nuts and seeds, oils extracted from nuts and seeds and vegetable oil, according to health and nutrition expert Dr. Andrew Weil. Flax oil and olive oil provide significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as well.
SEEDS AND NUTSÂ Flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts increase your omega-3. Other nuts, such as hazelnuts, cashews, almonds and Brazils, provide a significant amount of omega-6 fatty acids, but only tiny amounts of omega-3 acid.
Your body needs EFAs to run properly as EFAs are involved in:
- Cell growth, repair and development.
- Transporting oxygen.
- Maintain proper organ function.
- Maintain reproductive systems.
- Promotes brain development and function.
- Reduce and regulate blood pressure.
- Anti-inflammatory activities (which can help with diseases such as arthritis and even asthma).
- Regulates pressure in the joints and elsewhere.
…the list goes on and on. Point is, EFAs truly are essential to your body for just about every function.
I’m not saying you should load up on fats. I’m saying you need to eat the right kinds of fats and you need to eat them in moderation. And I’ll talk a bit more about that in the next post!