Remember when every diet and weight-management program seemed to say we should any and all fat?! I used to try to eat absolutely no fats, no exceptions. Then I'd go and eat bad food. Not anymore. Now I know how crucial it is to have fats in our diet. Not just any fats--good fats. Today, my #BIKINIAFTERBABY guru, Kelly LeVeque is helping us decode the "good, the "bad", and the "ugly" when it comes to fats, a micronutrient must-have! Read below for all the details:
Fat provides the building blocks of the brain, cellular membranes and hormones in the body, it is deeply hydrating and essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, K and E. It is absolutely my favorite macronutrient and the most powerful anti-aging beauty food used both internally and externally. When consumed, fatty acids help stabilize blood sugar – allowing your body to release fat, protect lean muscle, and surge with energy. Fat can take a meal from fuel to satisfying helping you to snack less on processed foods and focus more on whole food meals rich in fibrous leafy greens, wild proteins and healthy fats.
For cooking, choose oils with a high smoke-point, for salad dressing, smoothies and dessert enjoy organic cold pressed oils. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Oils Decoded:
Avocado oil is the new olive oil with a higher smoke point; this MUFA is loaded with oleic acid, a fat linked to a reduction in inflammation with anti-cancer benefits. If you are looking for a great all around fat this is the winner! (Primal)
A great fuel source for the body, coconut oil includes a special type of saturated fat called medium chain triglyceride (MCT). Unlike other fats, MCTs do not require bile acids for digestion. This means they are easily absorbed in the upper part of the small intestine as energy.
Algae oil is anti-inflammatory and the highest source of monounsaturated fat, the good fat. In fact, one tablespoon alone has as much monounsaturated fat as an avocado. Coined MUFA, these fats are known for decreased risk in breast cancer, lower cholesterol levels, aid weight loss and a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke. Algae oil is best used for high heat cooking (like stir-fry’s) because of its 485-degree smoke point and super light taste. (Thrive)
Ghee is clarified butter. The milk solids have been removed so it’s very low in lactose and is almost entirely fat – mostly saturated. It has a grass fed salt-free butter taste with a higher smoke point. This is a savory fat good for sautéing, browning meat and cooking eggs.
When it comes to olive oil quality is everything! Reports in the last few years have exposed that many olive oil producers cut olive oil with soybean and other cheap oils so ensure your olive oil is truly 100% olive. For dressings, choose organic extra virgin olive oil (this variety contains the highest level of antioxidant polyphenols and oleic acid) and when it comes to roasting reference the smoke point chart to ensure you.
How To Use Them:
Healthy High Heat Oils for Cooking:
Type of Fat + Smoke Point
Algae Oil | 485°
Light/Refined Olive Oil | 465°
Clarified Butter (Ghee) | 450°
Macadamia Nut Oil | 390°
Avocado Oil (Virgin) | 375-400°
Butter | 350°
Coconut Oil | 350°
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil | 325-375°
MCT Oil | 320°
*note the difference in olive oil smoke points
Non-animal fats, organic, unrefined forms are ideal:
Animal fats, from pasture-raised/grass-fed & organic sources are ideal:
Eggs, meat & seafood
Olive Oil Extra Light (high smoke)
Organic, extra-virgin and cold-pressed forms are ideal:
MCT, or medium chain triglyceride (like in coconut oil) can be purchased in its concentrated form to be added to your morning Be Well Smoothie or blended with a cup of hot coffee or tea instead of creamer. MCT is easily digested and has been shown to promote fat burning and increase energy expenditure. Be aware this oil is delicate with a low smoke point and shouldn’t be used for high heat cooking.
Olive Oil - check smoke point
Nut oils (walnut, pecan, macadamia):
Flaxseed oil (higher in omega 6; use in moderation)
Nuts & seed butters (including nut & seed butters):
Snacking on nut butter like, almonds, cashews, walnuts or brazil nuts, can pack your diet with filling protein, fiber, unsaturated fats, and important vitamins and minerals like magnesium. Not to mention, they have been linked to lower cholesterol, better heart health, weight control, and even a lower cancer risk.
What To Avoid:
Stay tuned for more tips from Kelly on both my blog and Kelly's, Be Well By Kelly.For the next 12 weeks, we'll be sharing recipes and tips to help you get ready for bikini season...post-baby or not!
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.