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Fats

Although Fat sounds like a big bad word, it is vital that you include healthy fats in your regular diet. Look below to learn more:

Why Fats are Important: Fat is essential for lubricating your joints and manufacturing hormones.

Daily Dietary Requirements: 20% – 30%** of Caloric Intake

If diet has too little If diet has too much
  • Hormone production will drop and normal chemical reactions will be interrupted
  • Increased body fat
  • Hair loss and/or lost hair luster and sheen
  • Nails can become brittle
  • Vital organs will lack cushion
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Obesity
  • Increased risk of type II diabetes, gallbladder disease, cardiovascular disease and heart attack, hypertension, and osteoarthritis
  • Essential because your body can not produce them on its own
  • Lowers LDL Cholesterol and supports and regulates cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems
  • Manufactures and repairs cell membranes and maintains oil barrier of skin, which protects body from fluid loss and infection

Intake:

  • An ideal intake ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is between 1:1 and 4:1
  • American diets tend to have too much omega-6 in relation to omega-3 fatty acids, which contributes to long-term diseases such as heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis, and depression
  • The minimum healthy intake for both linolenic (Omega-3) and linoleic (Omega-6) acid via diet, per adult per day, is 1.5 grams of each. One tablespoon of flax seed oil can provide this amount, or larger amounts of other linolenic-rich foods
Types of Fat What you should know Good Food Sources and Serving Size
Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

  • Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower (1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked)
  • Cooked Soybeans (1/3 cup)
  • Dried Ground Cloves
  • Dried Ground Oregano
  • Salmon, Halibut, Cod (3 oz.)
  • Seeds (1 T) (Flax, mustard)
  • Walnuts (1 T)
Omega-6 Fatty Acids

  • Black currant seed oil (1 t)
  • Borage oil (1 t)
  • Corn oil (1 t)
  • Evening Primrose oil (1 t)
  • Safflower oil – richest natural source (1 t)
  • Sesame oil (1 t)
  • Sunflower oil (1 t)
  • Hemp oil (1 t) (best balance of omega 6:3)
  • Pumpkin oil (1 t)
  • Soybean oil (1 t)
  • Walnut oil (1 t)
  • Wheatgerm oil (1 t)
Monounsaturated Fats
  • Helps lower cholesterol, essentially lowering risk of heart disease
  • Protects against wrinkles and reduces oxidative damage
  • Helps in absorption of fat-soluble antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin E and lycopene found in many antioxidant-rich vegetables
  • Avocado (3 T)
  • Canola oil (1 t)
  • Monounsaturated margarine (eg olive oil based) (1 t)
  • Nuts: Peanuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and peanut butter (1 T)
  • Olives (8 – 10 large)
  • Olive oil (1 t)
  • Seeds eg. sesame (1 T)
  • Tahini paste (2 t)
Polyunsaturated Fats
  • Foods containing polyunsaturated fat help to lower cholesterol and therefore help to reduce the risk of heart disease
  • They are generally necessary for stimulating skin and hair growth, maintaining bone health, regulating metabolism, and maintaining reproductive capability
  • Includes Essential Fatty Acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 (see above)
  • Mayonnaise (1 t)
  • Mayonnaise – light (1 T)
  • Polyunsaturated margarines (eg. Sunflower) (1 t)
  • Walnuts and brazil nuts (1 T)
  • Seeds – flax, sunflower (1 T)
  • Oils – corn, soybean, safflower sunflower (1 t)
  • Oily fish such as, fresh tuna, pilchards, mackerel, herring, salmon and sardines (3 oz)
Saturated Fats
  • Foods containing saturated fat raise LDL, the bad type of cholesterol and therefore increase your risk of heart disease
  • Butter, cooking margarine, ghee, lard (1 tsp)
  • Meat fat, poultry skin, sausages, bacon (1 slice bacon)
  • Dairy fat from cheese, ice-cream, yogurt, cream, full cream milk (1 oz)
  • Eggs
  • Commercial biscuits, cakes and pastries
  • Many fast foods
  • Coconut oil/milk/cream, palm oil (1 tsp)
Trans Fats
  • Industrially created by partially hydrogenating plant oils; making them more saturated, with a higher melting point and longer shelf-life
  • Trace amounts found in meat and dairy products
  • They are neither required nor beneficial for health
  • These recently have been banned in some cities and states and some companies have stopped using them
  • These fats are found in highly fried food and anything containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, hydrogenated oil or shortening
  • Hard margarines
  • Fried Foods – French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Commercially prepared foods (Cookies and Cakes)

*Caloric intake requirements vary from person to person. Understanding your personal needs is beneficial. To get an idea of what you need, refer to the ‘Caloric requirements calculator’ under ‘Nutritional Tools’.

** Note that percentage requirements are given in ranges because each individual’s needs vary depending on their level and kind of daily activity. If you tend to be very active, your diet will require more carbohydrates (to maintain your energy level). If you tend to do a lot of strength training, you will need a higher percentage of protein (to help build and repair muscle tissue).

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