GET THE SKINNY ON HEALTHY FATS
It might sound nuts, but there is one childhood food that isn’t a diet deal breaker.
Grab a tart apple or some crispy celery and give it a smear of peanut butter.
That’s good news on National Peanut Butter Day where you can enjoy the benefit of incorporating healthy nuts or nut spreads into your plan.
Consider: One serving of peanut butter has 8 grams of monounsaturated fats and four grams of polyunsaturated fats, the type that help lower cholesterol, reduce heart disease and lower blood pressure. Peanut butter also contains potassium — which lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Win-win.
Peanut butter also proves that there are many benefits of a forbidden word in our culture — fat. This nutrition group has an even worse rep than sugar or carbs.
Here’s the skinny: It’s time to reevaluate adding fat into your diet plan because one of the most common mistake people make on a low-carb diet is not eating enough fat.
If you consume in moderation, good fats boost brain function while proving heart healthy and anti-inflammatory. Healthy fats help with hormone production, jump starting metabolism, nudging weight loss, upping energy and improving immune function. Want healthy hair, skin and nails? Pass the nuts. Fat gives your body essential fatty acids and helps you to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. If you are deficient in essential fatty acids, then you’ll be interfering with the function of every cell in your system. This doesn’t mean you should stand at the sink and eat an entire jar of extra chunky peanut butter. Here are some smart ways to incorporate good fat into your plan:
*KNOW HOW TO READ YOUR FATS
All fats are not created equal. The monounsaturated and omega-3 fats are the best choices and can be found in peanut butter nuts, seeds such as flax, canola and olive oil. You can also seek fat health proteins like salmon, which helps fight cardiovascular disease while providing essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins necessary for good health.
One note: Don’t kid yourself and think that the fats found in foods like doughnuts, fried foods or those sweet-smelling cinnamon buns are good fats. They contain saturated, hydrogenated, oxidized and the evil trans fats. Keep them to a minimum because they not only create health issues, but also pack on the unhealthy pounds.
Many nuts also contain health-boosting nutrients like fiber, Omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamin E, and a variety of plant sterols. They also provide an energy boost. Good choices include a serving of hemp seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, flaxseed, cashews, sesame seeds, walnuts, macadamias or chia seeds. Chestnuts are especially low in calories at 213 per serving vs. 553 calories for a serving of cashews. Macadamia nuts are 718 calories per serving. Keep an eye on your portions because nut calories add up fast. Measure out 1/3 to ½ cup of your favorite nuts and keep the small bags in your car, gym bag, suitcase and purse.
*EAT YOUR OMEGAS.
A great way to add fat to your diet is to consume protein high in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. By the way, the omegas may also lead to increased longevity, so eat up. Good choices include adding fish twice a week with your eye on the omegas. Good choices include mackerel (4107 mg per serving), salmon (4023 mg per serving), cod liver oil (2664 mg per serving), herring (3181 mg per serving), oysters (565 mg per serving), sardines (2205 mg per serving), anchovies (951 mg per serving) and caviar (1086 mg per serving).
You can also get your omegas eating grass-fed beef, flaxseed oil, avocados, seeds, olive oil and enriched eggs.
*CLA ALL THE WAY.
Studies show that CLA or Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which is naturally occurring in fat, can help you tone up and improve body composition. There are CLA supplements, but you can also consume your CLA in foods including lamb, fresh ground beef, cow’s milk, low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese and pumpkin seeds.
So, eat your good fats. Your brain and body will thank you.