When you think of fat, you don’t necessarily think of running, or of a healthy diet. Mostly we hear about cutting fat out of our diets, ensuring that we don’t head towards obesity. Those fats, saturated and tras fats, are bad for your health and should definitely stay out of your diet. However, the good fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, are good for you and should be a part of a healthy, balanced diet.
They’re essential for vitamin absorption, proper nerve stimulation, healthy cells and immune system function. Picking foods high in healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, decreases your chances of getting several diseases. These “good” fats will help lower your “bad” cholesterol, lower your risk of heart attack and cancer (breast and prostate). Omega-3 fats will keep inflammation at bay and increase metabolism.
So where do you find these “good” fats?
Cold Water Fish – they’re high in monounsaturated and omega-3 fats. Get some salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, char, black cod, halibut, mussels, oysters, sardines or anchovies. Don’t like fish? Get yourself some cod liver oil supplements. They contain the fats you need – and you can take it in a pill, not from a spoon like your grandma (no spoon full of sugar needed to get this medicine down).
Nuts and Seeds – in moderation they’re a great source of “good” fats. Just be wary of eating too many, and watch that salt content! Get some walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts or hazelnuts. Sunflower, pumpkin seeds, chia (that’s right, the lovable terracotta pets are good for you – the seeds, anyways), and sesame seeds are all good, and the oils made from all of these are rich in”good” fats, too.
Plant Oils – offer a good alternative to old-fashioned hydrogenated and saturated oils. Hemp, flax seed, olive, canola, and grape seed oil are a good source of “good” fats.
Fruit and Veggies – always a healthy option for a snack. Papaya and cantaloupe, and olives contain omega-3. Beans and leafy greens are omega-3 rich as well. Kidney, mungo, soy, and pinto beans are great. Check out spinach, bok choy, winter squash, broccoli, kale, leeks and purslane as well.
Remember, most foods have a combination of good and bad fats. Don’t think that you can just mow down on a bunch of “good” fats and you’ll be in the clear. A healthy and balanced diet is necessary for good performance, so be sure to keep it in check.
Now go get some fat – the good kind – and eat healthy!