A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how food manufacturers moved to low fat/high sugar foods in the 1980’s, and how that has contributed to increasing rates of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Today, we expand on the topic of fats, and discuss how good fats can play an important role in managing your health.
Monounsaturated fats which are found in olives, nuts and avocados, are healthy and have been shown to reduce rates of heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids which are found in fish, flax and chia are essential fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory, help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower triglycerides. Quick fact: what does it mean to be essential? It means two things, first that this nutrient is critical for our bodies to function properly, and second that our bodies cannot make the compound so we have to get it from our daily diet.
Saturated fats that naturally come from animal sources like butter and the marbling in beef can contribute to high cholesterol levels and drive inflammation and should be consumed only occasionally and in limited quantities.
Trans-fats, created artificially through the process of hydrogenation, raise LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL, are highly inflammatory and cause insulin resistance. Trans fats are often found in highly processed foods and should be avoided altogether.
A recent review of the data from 56 clinical studies shows that when consumption of monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids are unlimited in the context of a plant-based Mediterranean eating approach, reductions in heart disease, breast cancer and diabetes follow. Quick fact #2: What is a Mediterranean eating approach? A diet rich in legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and olives, along with some fish and moderate amounts of red wine.
So here’s the bottom line: you don’t have to worry about fat content as long as it comes from whole food sources including nuts, seeds, olives, avocados or fish.
At Step One Foods, we make that easy. Every bit of fat in our foods comes from plants so all our products are high in omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Nuts? Check. Seeds? Check. Fruits? Check. Grains? Check. If you are hoping to follow a more Mediterranean approach, we’re a natural place to start.