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The Skinny On “Good” Fats

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Friday, September 30th, 2016
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Photo: Tina Larsson/shutterstock
Photo: Tina Larsson/shutterstock


When you hear the word “fat,” what do you think? It can definitely have a negative connotation, and we have been taught not to consume too much because of the impact it has on our health. But as we’ve been slowly starting to realize through recent health studies and articles, fat is not always bad.

The good

Fat can be a good source of energy, and it is also good for your heart. But the key is to consume the right kind of fats. There are two you need to know about: polyunsaturated (or omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid) and monounsaturated fat (or omega-9 fatty acid).

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential to sustaining a healthy life. These fatty acids help support healthy brain and heart function. However, the body cannot produce them on its own. They can be found predominately in plant-based foods such as flaxseed oil, walnuts and certain kinds of seafood.

Omega-9 fatty acids, also found in whole foods and oils such as sunflower and olive oil, support the heart, but they also help to improve the absorption of vitamins and prevent ailments such as diabetes and strokes.

How do I get them?

Good fats are primarily derived from whole foods such as fish, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Here are some common sources of good fats:

Oil – Oils that do not solidify at room temperature and are not processed or modified are generally categorized as healthy fats. They include: olive oil, flaxseed oil, peanut oil, sunflower, safflower and canola oils. Alternatively, Udo’s oil contains omega’s 3, 6 and 9 in a non-GMO unrefined oil blend.

Nuts – Most nuts contain the good fat that we need. Nuts are an easy way to get your omegas in without having to think too much about it. Nuts that contain good fats include: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts.

Whole foods – Whole foods that have a high amount of good fat content are always ideal. The following types of whole foods contain high amounts of good fat: avocado, salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies and trout.

The bad

It’s hard to appreciate the good without knowing a little about the bad — and in the world of fat, the “bad” are saturated and trans fats. They are “modified,” and made into solids, so that rancidity doesn’t take over, and they last longer.

The problem with these types of fats is that they contain bad cholesterol (LDL) and reduce the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in our bodies. Bad cholesterol causes heart disease, diabetes and other serious ailments. Moreover, they have no nutritional value whatsoever.

Having good fat in our diet is essential to our health. You can liken good fat (omega 3, 6 and 9) to nutritional food and bad fat (saturated and trans) to junk food. You get from your body precisely what you put into it. So, get your good fats in and you’ll get the strength and vitality from your body that you need to produce great results.

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