Anyone that knows me knows that although I’m a health nut, I’m a huge fan of eating plenty of healthy fats. By doing so, it prevents me from eating sugar, junk food, or having low blood sugar. I also find healthy fats to be a powerful secret weapon that prevents depression, disordered eating, and anxiety! Over the years, I’ve learned to quit eating a low fat diet, and start incorporating these healthy fats into my nutritional lifestyle. I hope you’ll try some, and be sure to let me know what are your favorite healthy fats! There are far more healthy fats out there than olive oil, so read on to learn how to get these powerhouse foods into your diet ASAP.
1. Almonds and Almond Butter
Almonds and almond butter in their raw forms are some of my favorite sources of healthy fats. They contain magnesium that calms you down, which also aids in muscle function, prevents or treats headaches, increases bone health and aids in nervous system functions. Magnesium is also wonderful if you’re suffering low energy. Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which not only help to slim you down in the waistline especially, but are also excellent for your heart. Almonds contain a nice crunch, plus fiber, protein and Vitamin E, which make them an all around power food. They stabilize hunger, prevent blood sugar spikes, and prevent junk food cravings. A handful in the afternoon makes a perfect pre-dinner snack to power you through the rest of your day and prevent overeating later.
2. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are incredibly rich in Vitamin E and zinc, which both aid in immune function and hair, skin and nail health. Zinc prevents infections and dry skin and scalp, plus it has even been linked to maintaining a healthy weight. Pumpkin seeds are also the only alkaline-forming seed, which means they help actively fight acidity in the body. Other raw nuts and seeds are great for eating alkaline, but pumpkin seeds are the only seed that actually promotes alkalinity, and isn’t merely just healthy for you, since it is higher on the alkaline side of the pH scale than any other nut or seed. Pumpkin seeds are rich in protein and are great for warding off hunger and a bad mood. Paired with some almonds and raisins, they create the perfect and simple trail mix!
3. Brazil Nuts
The two most alkaline nuts are Brazil nuts and almonds, and both are also extremely nutrient dense. One Brazil nut contains all your daily requirements of selenium, and is great for balancing your hormones. Selenium is a mineral that has been linked to a healthy weight, immunity, skin appearance, hormonal balance and overall heart health. Brazil nuts are great for fighting cravings, so have one or two when you need something sweet. The fats, protein, fiber and healthy oils in the nut will keep you satisfied and give you beautiful skin. They are also fairly easy to digest, which is nice for those who don’t tolerate nuts well.
4. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
If you read my blog, you know how much I love coconut oil! It is so incredibly healthy for you, and wonderful for your mood, weight, skin and overall health. I love that it gives me energy, without weighing me down. It also knocks sugar cravings out fast! My favorite thing about coconut oil is that it is an antiviral food, meaning it fights infections, yeasts and fungus in the body. It is also incredibly creamy and filling when used in smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, pudding or anything else you can think of. Cooking with coconut oil is also great because it holds its structure in high heat better than any other plant-based oil. Don’t fear the saturated fats in this healthy oil either. The saturated fats in coconut oil are different than other saturated fats, and they actually help to fight harmful fats in your body, detox your liver, and are used immediately for energy instead of fat storage. I always advise buying organic extra virgin coconut oil such as Nutiva, Garden of Life or Artisana brands. I also like Bright Earth Foods Vanilla coconut oil. Try to avoid eating refined coconut oil for the most health benefits as well.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a true superfood when you don’t choose the sugary varieties or milk chocolate varieties. Chocolate is also high in magnesium, iron, fiber and contains saturated fats similar to coconut, making it a healthy choice for a properly portioned snack. I enjoy buying raw cacao nibs and raw cacao powder to get the best chocolate offers in its raw form. The powder is exceptionally low in fat and high in fiber, and the nibs provide the perfect taste, crunch and satisfaction as an alternative to chocolate chips. I also enjoy brands of chocolate such as Sunspire Unsweetened varieties which are Organic, non-GMO, and Fair-Trade. Eating chocolate in one-two ounce servings per day will not only keep you extremely happy, but also prevent sugar cravings. Don’t neglect your inner need for chocolate; just indulge in the healthy stuff!
One of the most healthy forms of fats comes in the avocado. Avocados are extremely popular nowadays with good reason. Avocados are a fruit high in protein, fiber, Vitamin E, monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), and folate. Folate is a B vitamin linked to bone health, mood health and heart health. The fats in avocados help to give you a strong satisfaction when eating them, and they lower your blood sugar significantly. You only need a small amount to make a difference too, such as ¼ avocado per serving. You can add them to smoothies for a thick, ice cream like consistency for a lower sugar approach to smoothies, or you can add them to salads, which is one of my favorite ways to eat them. They also make a great base for homemade dressings. Be sure to pick an avocado slightly soft to the touch but not mushy. This will ensure it is ready to eat and not overly ripe or too ripe to eat.
7. Hemp and Chia Seeds
Hemp and chia seeds are so similar in nutritional density, usage, vitamins and minerals, they are extremely interchangeable. Flaxseeds are also an excellent seed to include in your diet, but hemp and chia are slightly more nutrient dense than flaxseeds. The main differences between hemp and chia seeds are the taste and consistency of each seed. Hemp seeds are slightly richer in protein and magnesium than chia seeds are, and offer a nutty taste. Chia seeds are higher in fiber, lower in fat, lower in protein, yet higher in antioxidants than hemp seeds. Chia seeds are also tasteless and thicken up anything they are added to, giving them a mucilage property that makes them so popular for egg substitutions. Both hemp and chia are extremely nutrient dense in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and are a great source of vegan protein. Both can be sprinkled over cereal, yogurt, smoothies, salads, or thrown into homemade energy bars. I alternate my use of both of these seeds for a different source of Omega 3 and 6 fats each day. Note, it is important not to cook with these seeds since it can damage their healthy fat structure. Both seeds are rich in fiber, iron and Vitamin E too, so be sure to incorporate these healthy fats into your meals and you’ll not only feel happier from all those Omega fats, but also fuller too!
Do you have any favorite sources of healthy fats? Tell me about them! Always remember, fat doesn’t make you fat as long as you choose the right ones in proper serving sizes.