Although often given a bad rap, fat is an essential macronutrient. It offers many benefits that are helpful and healthful to a well-rounded diet.
- Serves as a source of energy
- Makes and balances hormones
- Forms cell membranes
- Develops the brain and nervous system
- Transports fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K
- Provides omega-6s and omega-3s (we can't make these on our own!)
Fat has a place in your diet to ensure proper bodily functions. With unsaturated, saturated, and trans fat being our main categories of fats, it's important to understand there is a place of moderation for each. Not all fats are "healthy" and not all are "unhealthy". You can get healthy fats into your diet through whole foods, like the list below.
Foods with fat:
- Nuts and seeds (flax, chia, hemp, walnuts, peanuts, almonds)
- Eggs (particularly the yolk)
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, butter)
- Fatty fish (tuna, salmon, sardines)
- Wild game
- Extra virgin olive oil
In a typical American diet, fat from whole foods can be more challenging to consume due to accessibility of highly processed foods and fast food restaurants. It's imperative to your health to balance the highly processed food consumption with whole, less-processed foods.
Note: most foods are processed. For example, canned vegetables are processed, but that doesn't mean they aren't providing beneficial nutrients. When I mention highly processed foods, think of foods going through multiple processes like chips, candy, cereals, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fries, etc.