By Luigi Gratton M.D., M.P.H.
VP, Training, Herbalife Nutrition
From talk shows to newspaper articles to social media, the advice on when to add, or subtract, fat from our plate is continually changing. These mixed messages, combined with the latest trendy diets, can be confusing.
Our bodies need fat to stay healthy. But the types of fats we should include in our diet, and their sources, can be confusing. The key is to know how much fat you need to eat for optimal wellness.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEALTHY FATS
Why Fats are Important
Fats, proteins and carbohydrates provide energy measured as calories. Regardless of our body type, our body needs these calories to carry out daily activities. When consumed in excess, extra energy is used to synthesise fats and create important energy storage. Moreover, fats are found in all our cell membranes and are needed for cell function. That said, not all food fats are alike, and some are healthier than others which is why it is important to replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats to keep a healthy cardiovascular system. We can definitely say that fats are a very important source of energy and are key to each body cell.
The Power of Omega-3s and 6s
The most popular healthy fats are Omega-6 and Omega-3. According to current trends and studies conducted in the United States, increased consumption of Omega-3 is beneficial for our cardiovascular health and reduces blood fats. The benefits of healthy fats can be also observed in our brain, eyes, heart, skin and any other body organ system. , Therefore, a diet rich in or with high contents of Omega-3, both with foods and supplements, is beneficial for our health. To increase consumption of Omega-3, I suggest eating more fruits, vegetables and seafood such as shrimp and salmon; or otherwise, Omega-3 supplements.
Valuable Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are beneficial for our health and specially for the development of children. However, not all of us consume enough of them. Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins, as it is key to good bone health and to boost our immune system and muscles.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it is absorbed in lipids and stored in the body tissues for use. For many generations, our ancestors obtained vitamin D from the environment and foods. Today this has radically changed because people do not spend much time outdoors.
This also happens with magnesium. A mineral which is important because it is involved in over 300 different chemical reactions in the human body. The mineral is present throughout our planet, in rocks and water coming from springs or rivers. Years ago, magnesium was in natural water taken from rivers; while in contrast. Today water treatment provides a different mineral composition, and in some cases without sufficient amounts of magnesium. Dietary supplements can also help with magnesium intake. Workout and sport products such as Herbalife24® CR7 Drive, endorsed by Herbalife Nutrition-sponsored soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, deliver magnesium, which is one of the body’s electrolytes that keeps muscles functioning. This is one reason why athletes and sporting types use these kinds of product.
Here are 5 high-fat foods that are incredibly healthy and nutritious
Avocados contain a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which is the same fatty acid in olive oil, and is associated with various health benefits. They are also a great source of potassium, containing 40% more potassium than bananas; and a good source of fibre, which has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.
Dark Chocolate with at least 70% cocoa is high in fat, fibre and contains over 50% of the recommended daily amount of iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. It’s also loaded with antioxidants which can lower blood pressure and protect LDL cholesterol in the blood from becoming oxidised.
Whole Eggs are high in cholesterol & fat, and are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. They are loaded with vitamins & minerals and contain almost every nutrient we need including protein – most important nutrient for weight loss, and choline, an important brain nutrient.
Fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring are loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high quality proteins and other important nutrients.
Nuts are high in healthy fats and fibre and are a good plant-based source of protein, vitamin E and magnesium. Healthy nuts include almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, among others.