In Part One of this series on good fats, we spoke about how regardless of what your metabolic type is, we all need fat and we definitely need good fats. I want to make sure you know the best fats to choose on a daily basis. The first fats I spoke about in Part One are the basic fats that most of us know about.
In Part Two today, I want to share some examples of amazing fats you may be familiar with and some that you may have never heard about. I hope you enjoy this information and begin to implement these wonderful and tasty fats into your diet immediately!
Naomi’s Top 10 Good Fats
5. Macadamia nuts: oil and nuts
• Macadamia nuts are another source of monounsaturated fats with over 60% of their fat content being oleic fatty acids. They are one of the foods I love to snack on when I’m on the go as they contain a high amount of fat and are relatively low in carbohydrates. While I love healthy carbohydrates, the way foods containing high fat, low carbs, and low protein make me feel around that 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm snack hour is so stable and energized.
I also love drizzling macadamia oil on my salads and using it in smoothies as well. As a delicious treat, I stir in chopped macadamia nuts with melted dark chocolate and a little coconut oil. I scoop in mini-muffin trays and sprinkle with Himalayan sea salt. They cool in the fridge and when you pop them in your mouth it is the best crunchy comforting snack with a hint of saltiness that brings out the natural sweetness in the nuts. I hope you enjoy these nutritional powerhouses as much as I do!
• Macadamia nuts contain a wealth of nutrients aside from their good fats, such as the amino acid l-arginine (which is important for healthy blood pressure and hormones), antioxidants, manganese, thiamin, vitamin B1, magnesium, calcium, and iron too. Studies show that the intake of macadamia nuts improve all three components of metabolic syndrome which include blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose. People who snack on nuts have been shown to have greater success with weight management and keeping the weight off for good.
6. Almonds: oil and nuts
• The two most common fats in almonds are monounsaturated fatty acid oleic fats and linoleic acids. While many people think of almonds as a nut, in truth they are actually a seed. Almonds make a quick snack, but they can also contribute to the main meal since they supply a good amount of protein. Use almond butter for fat bombs, sauces (I love using them to thicken curries) or you can even make treats with almond flour in moderation.
• Aside from healthy fats, almonds contain ample fiber, magnesium, manganese, and antioxidants. They also contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, calcium, antioxidants like vitamin E and even prebiotics to help nourish your healthy gut bacteria. Due to their antioxidants, almonds protect you against free radicals, which decreases your risk for lifestyle disease. They promote healthy blood sugar levels, lower your blood pressure, and prevent harmful oxidation of bad cholesterol which makes them excellent for helping those with metabolic syndrome. And of course, almonds are a great fat if you are focusing on weight loss and satiety.
7. Pili nuts: nuts and butter
• I love the essential fatty acid content of pili nuts — especially the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats they contain. Pili nuts are buttery and creamy. I love adding them to salads and even more, I love using pili nut butter in smoothies to add a luscious mouthfeel.
• Pili nuts provide a rich source of minerals like magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, manganese, antioxidants, vitamin E, fiber and interestingly they can provide a complete source of protein. Pili nuts might be protective against obesity, heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, headaches, osteoporosis, cognitive degeneration, immunity and mitochondrial health (which translates to better energy).
8. Wild salmon: oil and fish
• To properly function and thrive we need to provide ourselves the two polyunsaturated fatty acids found in wild Alaskan salmon: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. These fats are essential, which means our bodies can’t make them, so we need to eat or supplement with them. Most of us don’t get enough healthy omega-3 fatty acids but we eat too many omega-6 fats. While we want a balance of these in a ratio of 4:1, our current diet of packaged and processed foods tips the balance in omega-6 fatty acids favor. This leads to inflammation. I want you to focus on eating more wild Alaskan salmon and moderate servings of wild cod in order to boost your levels of omega-3s. You can also take a fish oil, a cod liver oil or an algae oil as well.
• There are so many wonderful things DHA and EPA do to protect our health and wellness. There are two omega-3 fatty acids: omega- 3 ALA from plant foods, and EPA and DHA from seafood and fish oils. We must have EPA and DHA for a plethora of reasons and while we can make them from ALA, it is an inefficient process. DHA plays a role in all cell membranes and it’s a key player in our brain, eyes and nervous system. Pregnant women know firsthand how imperative it is to take a DHA supplement in particular during pregnancy since it is essential to the development of baby’s brain development, not to mention eyesight too. Men know its value since DHA is the main fat in sperm! So, all of us are largely impacted by its important value in our health and development. What I love about DHA is that it is the antidote to pro-inflammatory chemicals we accumulate from eating a diet rich in omega-6 fats.
Speaking of anti-inflammatory — EPA fatty acids have super-hero like tendencies in this respect as well! Our bodies use EPA to make hormone-like compounds like prostaglandins that turn the volume low on inflammation. Because of this, healthy intake of EPA is essential to combatting today’s modern lifestyle diseases since they all have roots in inflammation.
9. Black Cumin Seed Oil
• Black cumin seed oil may be new for you and I am so thrilled to share its benefits. It comes from Asia and allegedly Cleopatra used this incredible oil for beautiful hair and skin. That got your attention, didn’t it! The main types of fatty acids found in black cumin seed oil are oleic and saturated fats, such as myristic and stearic acids, as well as polyunsaturated fats like linoleic acids. There are many areas of health that black cumin seed oil is being studied and the main constituent giving it a place as a therapeutic food and dietary supplement is called thymoquinone. It’s important to look for a high-quality oil so you ensure the right dose of this active ingredient.
• Black cumin seed oil has been studied for its promising effects on normalizing fasting blood glucose levels, modulating a healthy immune system (including aiding in autoimmune conditions along with displaying antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial activity), optimizing digestion, regulating mood, boosting cognition, and it is also being shown to protect against lifestyle diseases likely due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. One of my personal interests in black cumin seed oil is its association with treating eczema.
New research is coming out daily in support of using black cumin seed oil, so I would love for you to strike while the science is hot and begin taking 1 to 2 teaspoons daily, however, if you are pregnant, please wait until after your baby is born. Since black cumin seed oil can be a powerful tool for those of you looking to lower your blood glucose and A1c with a food as medicine approach, please monitor your glucose levels and work with your local provider to ensure your blood sugars remain in a healthy range.
10. Pumpkin seeds: oil and seed
• I have always loved snacking on pumpkin seeds and now I’m in love with the virtues of its oil. It’s so easy to swap out oxidized and harmful vegetable oils for pumpkin seed oil and use on your salads, smoothies, and dressings. Better to not cook with these oils as heat destroys the unsaturated fatty acid content they provide.
• Pumpkin seed oil is something I want you to start using for so many reasons but namely, because of its strong anti-inflammatory activities. Here are some of the highlights of what the research says about pumpkin seeds oil:
- Due to its tryptophan content, it has been studied for its impact on mental health and mood. If you want a lift in your spirit using real food as medicine, this might be something to seriously try!
- It’s highly anti-inflammatory so it has been shown to positively impact people with diabetes, heart disease as well as cancer. Studies are promising for its therapeutic association with prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
- Due to its zinc content, people are using this oil for hair growth and repairing troubled skin.