As you get going with your healthy eating diet plan, one thing that you need to be taking into account is your dietary fat intake. Gone are the days where people believed that all fat should be avoided if one was to see remarkable improvements in their physique.
Now, we realize that eating dietary fat does not mean that you’ll immediately start packing on body fat. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Adding the right fats to your menu will help you not only feel great, but look great as well.
The key however is making the right choices. Choose the wrong fats in your diet and you’ll be discouraged with the results that you see and worse, could potentially put yourself at risk for serious health concerns.
Dietary fat is also very calorie dense at 9 calories per gram compared to the four that are found in both protein and carbohydrates. This means that you do need to regulate how much total dietary fat you’re eating in effort to ensure you keep your body weight under control.
Fat adds up very quickly. For the hardgainer who can’t seem to reach his calorie goal, this is a great thing but for those who do tend to gain body fat relatively easy, it’s not as good. Monitoring how much dietary fat you eat, good or bad, is important.
This said, let’s walk you through the top nine sources of healthy fat that should be making an appearance in your diet plan.
The first healthy fat to get into the picture in your diet plan is the avocado. Avocadoes are not only a great source of monounsaturated fat, which will help to promote a healthier heart, but they’re also a great source of vitamin E as well. This will help keep your skin and hair looking great.
Avocados are also a great source of carotenoids, and can provide excellent cardiovascular support. They may also help to manage blood sugar levels, preventing fat gain when using a higher carbohydrate diet plan.
Finally, avocadoes are also a great source of manganese and vitamin C, so are good for boosting your immune system as well.
They’re highly versatile and can be added to a sandwich, eaten alone, made into a dip, or even added to your protein smoothie.
8. Olive Oil
The next healthy fat is one that most people already know about – olive oil. Olive oil has often been touted as the healthy fat to boost heart health and it will do just that.
One thing that you do need to know about olive oil however is that if you are purchasing virgin olive oil, which is the healthiest variety, it has a very low smoke point. Meaning, you should only use it in dishes that are served cold.
If you heat this olive oil, it can turn rancid and actually cause your body more harm than good.
Olive oil therefore works great as salad dressings or used as a sauce when drizzled over your already cooked food.
Those who consume plenty of olive oil in their diet also tend to show lower levels of blood pressure, so it can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
The next healthy fat to get into the picture is almonds. These are fast and easy to take with you on the go and are a very concentrated source of calories. The nice thing about almonds is that they provide a balance of nutrients.
In addition to taking in the healthy fats they provide, you’ll also get a good dose of protein as well as some dietary fiber also. This makes them great to eat as a snack entirely on their own. Or, you can add them into salads, trail mixes, or even add them into main course meals. Slivered almonds also work great as a yogurt topping and if you enjoy baking protein rich desserts, you’ll often found ground almond flour called for to keep the total carbohydrate and sugar content down.
Almonds are also rich in vitamin E, so are great for promoting skin and hair health. They’ll also provide you with manganese, copper, vitamin B2, phosphorus, as well as magnesium.
6. Natural Peanut Butter
If you aren’t a fan of almonds, the next way to make use of healthy fats found in nuts is through natural peanut butter. Peanut butter is great as it is so highly versatile as well. It can be added to smoothies, smeared over a slice of Ezekiel bread, smeared over a protein pancake, added to oatmeal, used in a sauce, or simply eaten by the spoonful if you really love the stuff.
It is important that you do choose natural peanut butter when having this fat however as that will limit the amount of added sugars that are typically found in more conventional peanut butter varieties.
Like almonds, natural peanut butter is also a good source of protein as well, so for those who are on a vegetarian diet or who simply struggle to meet their protein needs, it can work as a solution to that problem.
For a high energy snack, consider mixing together some protein powder, raw oats, natural peanut butter and honey, forming the mixture into bite sized balls. This is a fast and portable way to fuel your active lifestyle.
Walnuts are the next healthy fat in the line-up. Again, another nut variety, these are unique in that they’ll also provide you with a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids as well. Most of us are currently not taking in enough omega-3 fats, so using this nut with your dishes more often can help bridge that gap.
Walnuts can be sprinkled onto oatmeal, added to salads, or used in main course meals very easily as well. They too will provide some protein as well as fiber, so are great for keeping your blood sugar levels stable as you go about your day.
The next healthy fat source that you might want to consider adding to your diet is flaxseeds. This seed is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids and contains other unsaturated fats that will promote heart health and improve your cholesterol levels.
Flaxseeds are a great source of dietary fiber as well, which helps out even more with lowering your bad cholesterol levels.
You’ll typically want to use ground flaxseeds, adding them to smoothies or any baking that you might be doing. You can also add a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseeds into a bowl of oatmeal prior to cooking as well to get this healthy fat into your day.
Flaxseeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants, so can help to fend off free radical damage and may decrease your risk factor for developing cancer. They contain more of these important antioxidants than many fresh fruits and vegetables do, so as you can see, are a highly powerful source.
They’ll also provide a good dose of vitamin B1, copper, manganese, as well as magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
3. Grass Fed Beef
One overlooked source of fat as it’s often considered a protein is grass fed beef. And while this food does typically contain more protein than it does healthy fat, it should still be noted as a healthy fat source.
If you purchase the grass fed variety, you’ll get a good dose of CLA, which is a type of fat that can actually help increase your body’s capability to burn fat up as an energy source.
For those who are either looking to get leaner or who are simply trying to reduce the level of body fat gained while on a mass building diet plan, this is extremely beneficial.
Grain fed beef does not offer the same benefit however, so you do need to be sure that you purchase the grass fed variety.
This type of beef will also provide a small dose of saturated fat, which can actually be healthy and help increase your overall testosterone levels as well. While you don’t want to let saturated fat from deep fried and unhealthy food sources into your diet, some natural saturated fat is necessary for optimal body processes.
Another protein sources that deserves mentioning is salmon. Salmon is one of the top sources of omega-3 fatty acids that you can take in and will help to promote a healthier brain, a healthier heart, an improved body composition, and will also help to provide mood boosting benefits as well.
As most of us currently are not taking in enough omega-3 fatty acids, this fish variety can’t be overlooked. Aim to serve it at least twice per week, if not more often.
It’s also relatively low in mercury content, so a fish variety that’s safe to have on a regular basis. For optimal results, choose wild caught salmon as you’ll receive the best nutritional profile.
1. Coconut Oil
Finally, the last fat to not overlook is that of coconut oil. Coconut oil is a very healthy source of fat, despite the fact that it is a saturated variety. It’s a source of medium chain triglycerides, which can be used immediately by the body as an energy source. This is unlike other fat varieties, which take a longer time to break down and become usable.
For those who are looking to lose fat and have their carbohydrate intake reduced, coconut oil can stand to be a perfect source of energy in their menu.
Coconut oil is also great for strengthening your immune system, boosting heart health, improving blood glucose regulation, and for fostering healthy hair and skin.
All in all, it’s one fat that you don’t want to be missing out on. Use it in baking or cooking as you normally would use butter or oil. It is a solid fat at room temperature, but will melt quickly when heated just as butter would.
So there you have the line-up of healthy fats that you should be making sure you take in on your diet plan. Are you getting all of these? If not, make some adjustments to your menu so that you aren’t overlooking them any longer.