Fats have become the ‘bad guy’ in the eyes of the grocery shopper. It’s the cause of the spare tire, your lack of energy, and your uncle’s heart attack. While it may be true that the fats in labeled food products often contain the type we want to avoid due to their health destroying properties, we need to be careful not to confuse them with these top five healthy fats, that are an essential requirement for a healthy body and mind.
Top 5 Healthy Fats
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been heavily praised for its health benefits for the last few years, and for good reason. The benefits of this healthy fat seems to be endless.
The main reason for its unbelievable health properties is its high levels of lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. It is these acids that give coconut oil its antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, and overall healing benefits. As a result of these amazing acids, you can find the following health benefits with coconut oil:
- Healthier skin and hair
- Weight loss
- Lower cholesterol
- Higher immunity
- Improves digestion and bowel function
- Increases metabolism
- Regulates blood sugar
- Increases bone strength
- Helps with brain function
- Kills bacteria and parasites
- Eases acid reflux
- Soothes earaches
- Strengthens the liver
- Reduces joint and muscle pain
- Helps reduce symptoms with prostate problems
- Protects against immune deficiency diseases like cancer and HIV
2. Fish Oil
The benefits of fish oil have been touted for quite some time, but it’s time to review the growing list of benefits.
Many of the benefits of fish oil are due to the presence of omega-3 essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA. Other useful essential fatty acids in fish oil include alpha-linolenic acid and gamma-linolenic acid. It is these nutrients in fish oil that benefit your brain, joints, muscles, heart, and skin. Some of the more specific benefits of fish oil include:
- Reduces inflammation
- Protects against cancer
- Slows the aging process
- Lubricates the joints and helps build muscle
- Protects against heart attacks
- Promotes brain health (protects against Alzheimer’s, ADHD, and depression)
The trick in recent years is to ensure you get a pure form of fish oil, free of mercury and other contaminants. Look for testing and proof that harmful levels of mercury have been removed.
One of the most beneficial components of hemp is its full range of amino acids as well as being a perfectly balanced source of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s), making it one of the very few plant based complete protein sources.
EFA’s include the optimal ratio of omega-3’s and omega-6’s, which helps maintain a healthy immune system and is responsible for healthy looking skin, hair and nails. The exceptional concentration of EFA’s in hemp, is also known for its role in:
- Preventing heart disease
- Lowering blood pressure
- Lowering cholesterol
- Protecting against cancer
- Preventing and reducing arthritis
- Health brain and nervous system development
- Production of healthy cell membranes
Use hemp in your smoothies, salads, baking, and even for creating an alternative to milk.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, and can contain up to 22 grams of fat in a medium sized fruit. This often scares those ‘not in the know’ as the exceptionally high fat content is seen as additional calories. However, as it is with all fats, the devil is in the details.
Avocados are one of the safest fruits to purchase conventionally grown, as the thick skin protects it from the already lower level of pesticide exposure it receives. In addition to this, avocados provide up to 20 essential health boosting nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins and folic acid.
Other notable health benefits to avocados include:
- Improved brain function
- Boosts heart health
- Improved eye health
- Regulates blood pressure
- Controls blood sugars
- Improved digestion
- Helps protect against cancer
Walnuts not only taste great but are also a rich source of monounsaturated fats. One quarter cup serving can deliver up to 95% of your Recommended Dietary Allowance of omega-3 fats.
Walnuts are a powerhouse of nutrients. It contains more antioxidants, folic acid, and Vitamin E than any other nut, and contain beneficial amounts of manganese, copper, iron, calcium, and phosphorous. Walnuts have also been studied and promoted for:
- Cardiovascular benefits
- Anticancer properties
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Brain health properties
Eat walnuts on their own, in salads, a vegetable dish or with fruit.
*Image of “smoothie” via Shutterstock