Every year, there seems to be a new fad diet that that ultimately blames fat for weight gain and encourages people to "ban" fats from their diets.
The problem with this mentality is that your body actually needs fats in order to function properly, and by banning all fats, you’re also banning the GOOD fats too that your body needs to run optimally.
The key is to ensure that you're mostly consuming "healthy fats" like monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats - particularly from the plant kingdom - whilst consuming less "saturated" and "trans fats".
Monounsaturated fats are found in foods like avocados, macadamia nuts, and olive oil, while polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
While some healthy fats can be found in certain animal products - like organic whole milk, butter and eggs in moderation - there are lots of strings attached to consuming these foods, so why not get all of your healthy fats from plants?
Getting your good fats from whole foods is the simple trick to maintaining a healthy diet, a healthy weight, and getting the nutrients your entire body needs to function at its best.
Learn more: What Are Whole Foods? 7 Benefits Of A Whole Food Diet
Keep reading to find out the plant-based foods you should be eating regularly in order to consume enough healthy fats, and why they are so important...
You might love the creamy, delectable taste of avocados, but they are actually filled with one of the healthiest fats you can eat.
In fact, one medium avocado has about 23 grams of mostly monounsaturated fat. Not to mention, it also has 40% of your recommended daily fibre intake and is sodium-free to help keep your heart healthy.
Avocados are the "godsend" of a plant-based diet as they are delicious, fulfilling and can be worked into a variety of dishes from the tasty guacamole to a healthy chocolate pudding. Consuming more avocados in your diet is a great way to ensure your body is getting the healthy fats it needs to function and thrive.
Learn more: 7 Good Reasons Avocados Are Considered "Super Food"
Nuts have long been known for being a source of healthy fats, and a staple of a plant-based diet and their a wonderful snack food because of their abilities to keep you satiated and nourished in between meals.
The only issue can be when you consume either too many nuts in one serving or flavoured varieties that counteract their healthy properties.
The nuts that have the best proportion of healthy fats include walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts, but all nuts are healthy, in the right portion sizes.
A healthy portion size would be a handful of nuts per day, which equates to about 20 almonds or 15 cashews. Nut butters are also a healthy option, since they are also filled with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and are easy to spread on a variety of foods. Try almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter for your next breakfast for a delicious change.
Tip: Next time you’re on the go, instead of reaching for a package of salted, flavoured nuts, try the Cornucopia Epicurean Snack for a satisfying and healthier alternative blend of raw nuts, seeds, corn kernels, spices and salts.
Learn more: 7 Healthy Benefits of Eating Raw Nuts
3. Chia Seeds
You might not think of chia seeds as a food with healthy fats, let alone any fats, but these mighty little seeds are bursting with more than what appears. They have a wonderful combination of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, protein, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and they can be included in a variety of dishes thanks to their subtle flavour and texture.
Add them into overnight oats, plant-based chia pudding, blended into your smoothie, or sprinkled beautifully over a tasty smoothie bowl.
Learn more: 5 Amazing Benefits Of Chia Seeds
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil has been consumed for years for its health benefits, but you might not realize that it’s one of the healthiest fasts you can eat. This go-to cooking oil is bursting with healthy monounsaturated fats; in fact, one tablespoon has 14 grams of fat.
While EVOO is definitely a healthy oil, you might be eating more than you need: 2 tablespoons a day is enough to give your body what it needs, without consuming too many calories or too much fat in one day.
Learn more: Pour on the Olive Oil: 5 Ways it Keeps You Healthy.
Flaxseed is so important if you follow a plant-based diet, because it gives your body the omega-3 fatty acids it needs that others get from consuming fish. We don’t produce omega-3 fatty acids, so we need to get them from food and they help improve heart health, lower inflammation, and support brain health.
Sprinkle flaxseed over your morning oatmeal, blend it into a smoothie, or mix it into a homemade salad dressing—you won’t taste it, but your health will absolutely notice it.
Learn more: Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Good for Inflammation, Brain, & Heart Health
Soybeans are tiny superfood pods and they make a wonderful staple in the plant-based diet thanks to their combination of fibre and protein. But they’re an important part of this list thanks to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and because they produce tofu, a great meat alternative.
Try soybeans boiled with good salt or tofu in anything from breakfast as a tofu scramble to your next dinner stir-fry for valuable protein.
7. Dark Chocolate
If you’re happy to see chocolate on this list, you’re not alone. But, beware: not just any type of chocolate is a healthy fat. Dark chocolate has long been touted a health food for its antioxidants and minerals, but the healthy fats in this sumptuous treat are also important and can keep your heart healthy. Limit yourself to 1-2 squares a day, but feel free to mix it into granola or pair it with something tart like raspberries to enhance the flavour.
Learn more: Chocolate: Powerful Healing Food Or Poison?
8. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is quickly becoming a cooking go-to oil, for good reason. While you might be thrown off by the saturated fats and calories, coconut oil fats are processed differently by the body and are used for energy rather than stored. This type of fat can even help boost the metabolism and suppress your appetite, to maintain a healthy weight.
Cultures around the world eat plenty of coconut oil while maintaining wonderful health, and the Western world would do well to mimic this type of diet.
You can use coconut oil any way you would use olive oil, but you can also bake with it and even use it on your skin and hair.
Learn more: The Amazing Health Benefits of Coconut Oil.
While fats have been blamed for a lot of our health problems, they're actually a vital part of a healthy diet.
The big culprits of obesity, diabetes and disease is not actually 'fat' per se, it's refined carbohydrates, sugar and heavily processed foods.
Embracing healthy fats will help your body function as it’s supposed to, by giving you energy, promoting cell growth, protecting your organs and nerves, and even helping you to absorb nutrients.
A healthy, varied diet includes healthy fats every day, and the good news is that you are likely already eating many of these foods if you’re following a plant-based diet as nature intended. When you realise healthy fats aren’t the enemy, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding a number of health problems becomes so much simpler.
Find more healthy wholefood products at our store.
Learn more: Good Fats vs Bad Fats
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