Fats should make up about 30% of our diet. They are clean burning fuel for our bodies. Think about the phrase “burning the midnight oil.” We get a lot of our energy from fat! The problem isn’t just getting too much fat, but it’s getting the RIGHT kinds of fats. Unhealthy fats are the processed fats that we often regard as bad: trans fats, fried Twinkies, and pork rinds. Healthy fats include foods that contain Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. We are now able to check for the different healthy and unhealthy fats, including Omega 3, 6 and 9. The food we often associate with healthy fats is fish, especially salmon. Fish is the most plentiful source of Omega 3 fatty acids. But we can get healthy fats from plenty of healthy vegetarian sources such as avocados, olives, flax seeds, nuts and seaweed.
Eating healthy fats can help with mood disorders (depression, ADHD), joint pain, decreasing your bad cholesterol, decreasing heart attack and stroke risk, psoriasis, and many other conditions. Hydrogenated or chemically altered fats can increase cancer, inflammation and heart disease. All fats are NOT created equal. It also may be better to drink full fat organic milk rather than skim. The organic dairy fat contains lots of good fats, which may help with decreasing the risk of diabetes. So, you may eat dairy, but eat less of it, and be sure to eat the good quality dairy- made organically- with no hormones or antibiotics given to the cows.
While we may be consuming some Omega 3 fatty acids in our diets, we still need to increase the Omega 3 fatty acids to balance out the Omega 6. It should be a 1:1 ratio (or as close to that as possible). Usually, eating fish helps to bring balance to your diet, but if you eat too much fish, the heavy metal load in your body can increase. This can be very detrimental to some people. At a Nutrition and Health conference in May, Dr. Weil recommended that people eat as low on the fish food chain as possible (i.e. more sardines than tuna), no more than twice a week.
So, it’s time to wipe out the idea that all fats are bad for you. Our bodies use healthy fats to survive and to thrive – and they help us to keep burning the midnight oil!