Yes, we know, we’ve all heard it over and over… AVOID FAT…but what a lot of us don’t realize is that fat is a vital part of staying healthy with a balanced diet, it’s just the right kind of fat that’s important.
It was in the 80’s when fat was deemed the devil and shelves were lined with low-fat or fat-free products but since then, obesity, heart disease and diabetes rates have sky rocketed – how can this be you ask, when we are existing on a low fat diet? Well, when fat is removed from a product it doesn’t taste good so that fat is normally replaced with refined sugar or artificial sweeteners to make it palatable again.
Whether I am dealing with clients for weight loss or specific health issues, I am always looking at their fat consumption and most are shocked by how much fat I ask them to eat on a daily basis but it’s simple – fat doesn’t make you fat, its sugar that makes you fat!
As with any foods, I am always concerned about the quality and quantity of what is being eaten and so I wanted to share with you my top 5 fats that should be included in your diet if you want to achieve optimal health or weight loss.
- Avocados are an excellent source of healthy fat and protein. The protein in avocados are more easily digested as they contain fiber, which also aids in keeping you full longer. One of my favourite ways to eat avocadoes is as a spread on toast or as an alternative to mayonnaise.
Check out my recipe below for Grilled Chicken, Avocado and Mango Salad
- Oleic acid is the primary fatty acid in avocados and is shown to improve cardiovascular health.
- They boost HDL (good cholesterol) levels which protect against damage from free radicals and help in preventing diabetes.
- Phytosterols, one of the major fats in an avocado, aids in the reduction of inflammation, helping those with arthritis.
- Coconut Oil seems to be the oil of the moment, but in fact, it’s been around for hundreds of years. It is produced from the ‘meat’ of the coconut, and has a neutral flavour when used for food preparation. It is heat stable so is a great oil to cook with.
- Coconut oil’s triglycerides (fatty acids) are shorter, and are metabolized differently, having positive effects on the brain, aiding in disorders such as Alzheimer’s or epilepsy.
- The ketones produced by the liver after digestion of coconut oil increase the expenditure of energy, as well as reduce appetite, aiding in weight loss.
- Lauric acid counts for almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil, which can help to fight off an infection in your body.
- Chia Seeds are from a plant in the mint family, and is native to Mexico and Guatemala. They come in a variety of colours…white, black or dark brown…and come either whole or milled to use in many different preparations.
- The tiny seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, almost 5 grams in a 1 ounce serving, which aids in brain health.
- Chia seeds help fight belly fat by stabilizing blood sugar levels.
- Just 1 tablespoon provides 5 grams of fiber which will help keep you feeling full.
- Loaded with 27% of your daily required amount of phosphorus, these seeds help to keep your bones and teeth healthy, as well as aiding with tissue repair.
- Olive oil is a staple that everyone has in their panty, and over the years has been proven to be one of the healthier oils you should use in your daily diet. When purchasing olive oil, look for one that is in a dark glass jar and is classed as extra virgin, cold-pressed or unrefined. I recommend you either keep the oil for use without heating as in salad dressings and dips or to cook at very low heat. If the oil starts to smoke you have reached smoke point and destroyed most of the nutritional benefit.
- The main type of fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help to lower your cholesterol as well as regulate blood sugar levels.
- Olive oil is packed with polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps in protecting your cells from damage, as well as aiding in the reduction of inflammation in the body.
- Consuming olive oil as a part of your balanced diet has been proven to help in preventing depression.
- Hemp Oil is one of the newer oils to hit fame, but its health properties are proven. It is extracted from the hemp plant. Cold pressed oil has a nutty flavour, but when refined it becomes much milder in taste.
- Hemp seed oil contains the lowest amount of unsaturated fats of all the plant oils, which makes it a heart healthy fat.
- Omega-3 and omega-6 are perfectly balanced in this oil, making it a great source of essential fatty acids.
- Hemp oil is made up of 25% protein, and compared to other oils, it provides amino acids and the protein needed by your body without the addition of unwanted calories.
So remember, not all fats are created equal. Add some ‘healthy’ fat to your diet and you’ll reap the benefits.
California Grilled Chicken, Avocado and Mango Salad
Makes 4 Servings
12 oz. grilled chicken breast, sliced (from 1 lb raw)
1 cup diced avocado
1 cup diced mango (from 1 1/2 mangos)
2 tablespoons diced red onion
6 cups baby red butter lettuce
For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Whisk vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.
- Toss avocado, mango, chicken and red onion together.
- Fill a large salad platter with baby greens or divide on 4 small dishes; top with chicken/avocado mixture and drizzle half the dressing on top.
- Serve with remaining dressing if desired.