The ideal diet should be comprised of 40 to 60 percent of calories from healthy fats. This may sound surprising, but getting enough good fat is critical for brain function, hormone production, metabolism, weight loss, immune function and controlling inflammation. We also need fat for energy.
The human brain is actually made of 60 percent fat, and fat supports neurological functioning and mental clarity.
Of all the types of fats, omega-3 fatty-acid foods are vital to our metabolism, our mental health and our cardiovascular health. They protect us from developmental disorders and cancer. a-Linolenic acids, the plant oil type of omega-3 fats, are present in green leafy vegetables, sea vegetables, seeds, nuts, strawberries and kiwi.
These ALA omega-3s are converted in the body into the fatty acids DHA and EPA. DHA is deters against depression and supports memory. EPA helps with our inflammatory response. Neither DHA nore EPA can be produced by the body.
Omega-6 fats are present in sesame oil and raw dairy products, in avocados, coconuts, olives, cashews and pine nuts. They fats provide energy, power your brain, keep your skin beautiful and also support your immune system.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are important to good health. The two should be consumed in a 1-to-1 ratio. Eating too many omega-6 fats without a complementary balance of omega-3 fats causes inflammation.
Here are five good ways to get the healthy fat your body needs:
1. Avocado – There are so many ways to use avocado, from salads, to tacos, to wrapped up in a sheet of nori, to adding it to smoothies.
2. Ghee – Ghee is sometimes sometimes called “spiritual butter,” as it originated in India and is believed to calm the mind, feed the life force, and promote the kind of psychic heat that is generated by yoga. For those of us in the west, ghee is a lovely cooking oil that withstands high heat.
3. Coconut oil
Coconut oil also stands up well to heat. It is excellent for cooking and adding to many recipes. It is known to help you resist carbs.
4. Activated nuts and seeds – Soaked hemp seeds, almond, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, flaxseed, and other nuts and seed are highly nutritious after soaking. They can be served with green veggies, and milks can be made from them. The milk is good in smoothies, and the nuts and seeds can be added to pancakes, mashed sweet potatoes, and dozens of other dishes.
5. Olives and cold-pressed olive oil – Olive oil is delicious both raw and cooked. Flavored with lemon and sea salt, it makes a wonderful sauce or salad dressing.
Of course, good fats are only one part of a healthy diet. Adhere to the basics by avoiding sweets and simple carbs. Eat lots of raw vegetables and lean protein foods, and reap the health benefits.