Fats are an often misunderstood macronutrient. The reality is fats are absolutely essential for optimal health and performance. Here are the facts about GOOD fat.
- We need to eat fat to lose fat.
- Fat is an essential component of fat loss, balanced blood sugar, healthy adrenals, and optimal hormone function
- Our digestion needs fat to help transport nutrients across the cells.
- Our body uses fat to activate hormones and strengthen our immune function.
- When we are in between meals, our body uses stored fat for energy.
- Fat is an integral part of all nervous system functions. Our myelin sheath, the protective lining in our brain, is made up of 80% lipids (fats).
A simple way to add fat into your diet is with these three superfood seeds. You can add them to any salad, smoothie, toss them into a grain free cereal or make a chia pudding.
Flax seeds – Flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and rich in alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). They also supply other nutrients such as manganese and magnesium and contain a lot of fiber.
Chia seeds – Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids plus manganese, calcium and phosphorus. Just one ounce of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber.
Hemp Seeds – Hemp seeds contain all the omega fatty acids you need for a healthy body – 3, 6 and 9. You only need 1 tablespoon per day to get your daily dose of omegas.
Another way to add good fat into your diet is with the oil you cook with or the oil you add to dressings.
Below is a list of the healthiest oils to consume. Also included are which oils you can cook with at a high heat (we do not want to cook certain oils over high heat because doing so will create dangerous toxins or free radicals):
- Coconut Oil: always look for unrefined and organic. This is an amazing oil because its smoking point is 350 degrees, which means you can use this oil for sautéing, baking, frying and roasting vegetables.
- Ghee: Ghee has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Ghee is lactose-free, casein-free and widely used for rebuilding the gut. It is a fat that also helps when you are feeling exhausted and is ideal for anyone who is allergic to butter. Ghee is the perfect fat for cooking since its smoke point is 450 degrees and makes it ideal for baking, sautéing, frying and roasting vegetables.
- Avocado Oil: Avocado oil has a very clean and fresh taste and is ideal for roasting, sautéing and even frying. Plus, it’s great for dressings as well. This oil has a smoke point of 500 degrees so it can be cooked at a very high heat. This is an awesome plant-based cooking oil.
- Sesame Oil: Sesame oil is fabulous to use as a finishing oil for its amazing sesame taste. The smoke point is 450 degrees, and we suggest using it at the end of a sauté dish where you desire that Asian dish flavor, or use it for making a dressing.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The smoke point of this oil is 350 degrees. This is important to know because you want to look at the other oils that have high smoke points to avoid toxins and free radicals. Olive oil is great for steaming and sautéing; just add the olive oil after you have finished cooking. It can also be used for dressings.
- Fish Oil: Fish oil is an ideal source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for literally hundreds of functions in the body. Of most interest to athletes, Omega-3’s are anti-inflammatory and very important for building muscle and losing fat. While eating fish is obviously a great source of Omega-3’s, we also highly recommend supplementing with a fish oil supplement to ensure all of your bases are covered.
Bottom Line: Do not be afraid of fat. For optimal health, maximum athletic performance and ideal body composition (i.e. getting bigger, stronger & leaner), make sure you incorporate a variety of quality fat sources into your diet.
Team Strong Athlete