We all need fats to not just survive but thrive! What most people do not know is how to identify healthy fats and eat those as part of a healthy diet.
In order to identify healthy sources of fats we have to know a little bit about science and little bit about food. From a scientific perspective we need to understand that fat is a type of nutrient that is used as an energy source the body.
It is also one of the building blocks for all of our cells in the body. Fat is formed from fatty acid building blocks and it is usually solid at room temperature. Oils have the same characteristics as fat except that they are usually liquid at room temperature.
1) The healthiest fats in our diets are found mostly in plant sources. Unsaturated fats are healthy sources for our diet. They are categorized as monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats.
Unsaturated fats have a double bond as part of their chemical structure. They tend to be liquid at room temperature and come from plant sources such as nuts, vegetable sources and fish.
Monounsaturated fats also known as MUFAs are found in plants. Here are some examples to add to your diet.
• Vegetable oils
• Canola oil
• Olive oil
• High oleic safflower oil
• Sunflower oil
Polyunsaturated fats also known as PUFAs are found in plants, fish and seafood. Our essential fatty acids have to come from food because we can’t produce them in our bodies. Omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are part of this group.
• Soybean oil
• Corn oil
• Safflower oil
• Canola oil
2) Limit your unhealthy fats (saturated fats) and replace them with healthy fats whenever possible.
If a fat is saturated it has all single bonds and no double bonds as part of its chemical structure. When we think about saturated fats in terms of our food we tend to think about fats that are solid at room temperature.