It's wonderful that we have moved past the idea that eating fats leads to unwanted weight gain. While not all fats are created equal, healthy fats that are based in whole, natural foods can be good for the heart and vital to wellness.
As you progress through your Clean Program journey, we want to help you discern which fats and oils are best avoided, and those that are helpful for the cleanse and your long-term clean diet. Here are the options we think are your best choices, and why.
Avocado: The benefits of avocados are many. Rich in monounsaturated fats, avocados are one of the healthiest fruits (yes, fruits!) you can eat. High in vitamin E which fights free-radical damage, they boost the immune system, keep your skin nourished and youthful. They are a healthy delicious, and buttery addition to your diet. Try this low-sugar smoothie bowl recipe as a special and nourishing addition to your summer menu.
Cold-Pressed Olive Oil: Olive oil can help prevent heart attacks, and may protect against strokes as well, as it is also full of beneficial monounsaturated fat. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid and high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Oleic acid may protect us against certain cancers as well. When choosing a good olive oil, look for extra virgin, cold-pressed, and unrefined varieties, as the cold-pressed extraction method preserves the integrity of the fat. Our roasted artichokes with garlic and lemon recipe is an excellent source of healthy fats from avocado and olive oil and is super delicious as well.
Coconut and Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil: Coconut is high in saturated fats which increase your healthy cholesterol (HDL), and also facilitate the conversion of bad cholesterols, or LDL, into good cholesterol. Coconut oil has many uses that will benefit your body's internal and external health. It is a wonderful substitute for butter in baking, and excellent as a skin moisturizer. It also has a high smoke (flash) point when cooking at high temperatures. This means that the benefits are not destroyed during the cooking process, and the oil has started to release free radicals and potentially harmful chemicals. A good way to enjoy coconut oil is in a coconut raspberry smoothie or just by adding a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil into your morning Daily Shake and enjoy.
Omega-3s: Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as essential fatty acids, are necessary for proper brain function, cognitive and nerve development, good skin, cardiovascular health, and overall good systemic functioning. Research also shows that these essential fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body, and help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, arthritis, and cancer. Since our bodies do not produce Omega-3s naturally, we must eat foods rich in them such as cold-water fish like halibut, salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Other sources include flaxseeds, olive oil, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. By reducing inflammation-causing Omega-6 fatty acids (typically found in the standard American diet), and adding in Omega-3s you will be reducing the risk of many chronic diseases.
In summation: The key to understanding which fats will benefit your health and those that will hinder it is knowing what to look for. One important caveat: we should make every attempt to avoid artificial trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils. Partially hydrogenated oils are created by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid and shelf-stable. According to the American Heart Association, trans fats are connected to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, also increasing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. By choosing good, healthy fats and whole fresh foods, we are providing the tools for our body to stay strong and healthy for years to come.
Written by Carolyn De Lorenzo
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