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Getting Friendly with Dietary Fats

Learn More About the Facts on Healthy Fat

Getting Friendly with Dietary Fats

Do you know your facts on fat? If you do, you're most likely including healthy fats in your dietary pattern. That's because, in addition to providing fullness and nutrient density, the consumption of healthy fats has been associated with a reduced risk of mortality and heart disease. Here are my favorite fats and the best ways to use them.

Extra virgin olive oil for a better brain

Regarding cognitive health, it's hard to beat olive oil. Observational studies have suggested the following a Mediterranean dietary pattern, rich in olive oil and other healthy fats is associated with better brain health over the lifespan. To investigate this further, researchers performed an animal study that demonstrated consuming extra virgin olive oil may help reduce inflammation in the brain and supports memory. Aim to consume at least 1 ½ TBS a day in salads, soups, or just drizzled on top of meals.

Avocado oil for lowering cholesterol

Add some avocados to your diet if you're trying to improve your lipid panel. A 2022 study found that eating an avocado every day for six months helped to reduce cholesterol levels and improve overall nutrient density. A similar study published in 2022 found that two servings of avocado every week also led to cardiovascular benefits, especially when avocados (considered unsaturated fats) were eaten in place of certain saturated fats like butter. Avocados can effortlessly be weaved into meals and snacks such as breakfast (avocado toast), lunch (used to thicken soups or sauces or included in dressings for salads), or dinner (avocado slices on chicken or fish tacos for example).

Wild fatty fish for better mental health

Management of mental health is essential to the overall quality of life. Several studies have found that including the consumption of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. The study of how diet and mental health intertwine is referred to as nutritional psychology and nutritional psychiatry. Over the past decade, the data has shown that consuming long chain omega 3's like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), either through food or supplement, may benefit overall mental health possibly through modulating inflammation. You can get more omega 3's by snacking on walnuts (the only nut with omega three fatty acids), consuming at least two servings of oily fish per week, or considering a DHA/EPA supplement.

Full fat dairy for lowering the risk of diabetes

It’s commonly known that dairy, and it’s abundant calcium, can help with bone health. According to a recent study, however, dairy can also contribute to a lower risk of diabetes and subsequently, metabolic syndrome as well. The study, which was conducted in over 100,000 individuals found the strongest association of benefit in full fat dairy foods. The study found that benefit came when consuming 2 servings per day. You can achieve this by consuming yogurt with berries for breakfast, adding milk to vegetable smoothies or enjoying a few slices of cheese for an afternoon snack.

Incorporating fats into your diet is an easy way to add nutrient density to your dietary pattern. Find options that work within your personal preferences that also help you in achieving your health goals.