Last time you learned the difference between the good fats and the bad fats to eat, as well as the many bodily functions that call for EFAs in order to function properly. Let’s dive in a little deeper in this topic…
Essential Fatty Acids: How Much and From What Source?
At the very least, you need to make sure that 10% of the calories you eat come from a good source of fats. Most people eat somewhere in the range of 20% to 35% of their calories from fat. I recommended that you start with around 20% of your calories coming from good fats.
Not all fats are created equal!
You want to avoid eating fats coming from things like lard, butter, animal fats, chicken skin, desserts, and processed foods. Instead, you’ll want to focus the majority of your fat consumption from these sources…
- Flax seed
- Flax oil
- Olive oil (extra virgin or virgin, unprocessed)
- Grapeseed oil (unprocessed)
- Canola oil (unrefined, cold pressed – not processed)
- Peanuts (includes the nut as well as natural peanut butter and peanut oil)
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Hazel nuts
- Pistachio nuts
- Pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Hemp oil (unprocessed)
- Corn oil (unprocessed and unrefined)
- Sunflower oil (unprocessed and unrefined)
- Safflower oil (unprocessed and unrefined)
- Sesame oil (unprocessed)
- Fish oil
The problem I have with many of these fats and oils is that heat destroys the nutrients. In other words, you won’t get as much benefit from an essential fatty acid if you cook it using high heat. For example, most of these oils don’t make good cooking oils because the EFAs are destroyed by the heat (with extra virgin olive oil being one of the exceptions).
Now, some people use supplements, like fish oil pills. There’s nothing wrong with this. However, you should always seek to get your EFAs and other nutrients from whole foods whenever possible. This all comes back to eating close to nature.
Here are some tips for incorporating these healthy fats into your diet:
- Use virgin olive oil on your salad instead of regular salad dressing.
- Sprinkle ground flaxseed over your oatmeal. (Note: Use ground, partially ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil whenever possible. That’s because your body doesn’t digest whole flaxseeds efficiently, meaning you won’t be able to pull much of the essential oils from the seeds before they turn into waste in your body.)
- Sprinkle flaxseed or sunflower seeds over your salads.
- Use extra virgin olive oil as your primary cooking oil.
- Eat mixed nuts as a snack, which is very satisfying. Just be sure to eat them in moderation, because it’s easy to rack up the calories with these EFAs.
INSIDER TIP: Since they digest slowly, you might want to eat them before bed. Or you can eat them alongside fast-burning carbs to slightly slow the breakdown.Â
That’s it for this time. The important thing to remember whether your fitness goals are fat lss or muscle building, it’s important to eat close to nature. It’s equally important to moderate your intake of all foods especially EFAs.
Next time you’ll discover some surprising facts about protein, so stay tuned!