We’re All about Those Healthy Fats
By Lizzy – S.W. Basics
People often ask me what the most powerful, nutritionally focused thing they can do to improve their health is. Since we’re all so different, and we all require unique nutrients to best fuel us, choosing just one thing that universally improves health is super tough. There is one fairly universal answer, though; boost your fat intake!
Hold up, fat is healthy? I know. It may sound crazy, but roll with me on this one. Some recent fat-loving trends include the Paleo Diet, Bulletproof Diet, and Dr. Mark Hyman’s latest book Eat Fat, Get Thin. Chances are, you may still be thinking: “Wait, but I thought fat clogged my arteries and made me carry excess weight? Aren’t I supposed to eat fat-free or low-fat, and run whenever someone mentions whole milk?” Studies from the 60s and 70s would have you think so, but more recent analyses have started to set the record straight. Based on my own experience, healthy fats are king (notice I didn’t say all or any fats).
Healthy fats are incredible nutritional powerhouses. They lower inflammation, lubricate your digestive system, boost cellular communication, improve immunity, and just generally make your skin and hair more luscious. Fats help your body absorb minerals and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Without them, your body has trouble staying warm, allocating nutrients, and balancing hormones. Makes sense – I’ve found that healthy fats significantly calm people down, allowing the nervous system to find peace and equilibrium.
On board? Here are a few ways to incorporate these healthy fats into your diet:
Coconut oil – cook with it, snack on it, make raw desserts with it, put it in your coffee. There’s truly nothing you can’t do with this nutrient-rich oil.
Fatty fish – salmon, mackerel, trout, and tuna are all considered fatty fish. Aim for including them in a meal at least once a week!
Avocado – go for a classic avocado toast, and include avocado slices on your salads or on top of your eggs. I love putting ½ an avocado in my smoothies – tastes delicious and gives your smoothie a dreamy texture.
Chia seeds – make some chia pudding by combining about 3 tbsp chia with 4 tbsp liquid of choice (coconut water, nut milk, milk, water). Let it sit for at least 10-15 minute, add some cinnamon and top with fresh fruit. Even sprinkle the raw seeds on top of grain dishes or salads.
Raw milk – though it’s technically not legal to sell, raw milk is a seriously perfect way to get your healthy fats. Raw milk is unprocessed – meaning it hasn’t been pasteurized or homogenized and maintains all of its vital enzymes. You can find where to buy raw milk in your area here. Just a note: The FDA doesn’t support the sale of raw milk, so do some research if you do decide to go the radical raw route.
Grass-fed dairy– if your body (and ethics) allows, incorporating whole milk, organic butter, raw cheeses, and kefir are also delicious ways to get extra fat into your diet. Be careful to not go crazy, we tend to over-consume dairy and then feel sluggish. But we’d never say no to a home-cooked chowder or toast and butter!
Nourishing your insides with healthy fats will provide some benefits to your surface, too! These healthy fats will not only make your insides happy, but will also calm, tone, and hydrate your skin. The essential fatty acids found in these foods help fortify the skin’s membranes and provide a natural moisture barrier that helps to maintain skin health. These fatty acids also reduce inflammation, which is a prime cause of acne. They’ll help minimize breakouts, acne scarring, and eczema. Woohoo! Pass the smoked salmon please.
The key word here is healthy. Healthy fats are a whole different ball game from the unhealthy, “bad” fats we’re used to hearing about that are also known as trans fats. It’s still best to keep your intake of fried and processed foods to a minimum. Luckily these days it’s much easier to find organic, delicious healthy fats all over the place. For once, you can let yourself indulge!