The average American will consume many more carbs and fats in a day than he or she needs to maintain their body. The food that starts out as fuel for our bodies and brains soon becomes something that drags us down when we eat too much. When we don’t burn off the excess fuel through exercise or other vigorous activity, our bodies will convert that fuel into fat and pack it on to our bellies and backsides. Many reason that if they simply stop eating these foods, the fat will burn off. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. When you starve your body, it slows your metabolism down instead of turning to the stored fat. The best way to change your eating habits is by switching out the processed foods and refined sugars you eat now for more natural foods.
Above all, remember that fat is not the enemy! Read on to learn about which fats to avoid, and which to eat more of, in order to improve your health, confidence and body image.
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Saturated Fats: When we learn about saturated and unsaturated fats in health class, we learn about them in opposition to one another. Unsaturated vs. saturated, black and white, one is good and the other bad. Not so! Saturated fats have been linked to an increase in bad HDL cholesterol, but only in excessive amounts. If you have a family history of heart disease or diabetes, be wary of the saturated fats. For everyone else, practice sensible moderation and keep enjoying your red meats and dairy!
Monounsaturated Fats: Indisputably, unsaturated fats provide the best health benefits. You can tell these apart from saturated fats because they are liquid at room temperature. Most plant oils are unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are proven to lower the bad LDL cholesterol and are highly concentrated in avocados, olive oil, macadamia nuts and corn oil, to name a few.
Try out some of these healthy recipes using foods rich in monounsaturated fats!
Delicious Avocado Dip
Garlic Rosemary Olive Oil
Macadamia Nut Trout
Polyunsaturated Fats: Another good fat, polyunsaturated fats in moderation will reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol. The most famous polyunsaturated fat in dietician circles right now is known as omega-3. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid—basically, our bodies need it to function, but can’t manufacture it alone. Fish like salmon, mackerel and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You can also snack on walnuts and flaxseeds during the day to add these healthy fats to your diet.
Walnut Coated Honey Mustard Salmon
Smoked Mackerel Risotto
“Bean’s Barley” Carrot Walnut Muffins
Trans fats: Trans fats get a bad rap for a good reason. Trans fats promote the buildup of the bad LDL cholesterol in your arteries, raising your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease. While trans fats do occur naturally in some meats and dairy products, the vast majority of the trans fats we ingest come from processed foods. When you buy baked goods or fried foods from the grocery store, check the nutrition label. A product that is “partially hydrogenated” contains trans fats. Common products that contain trans fats are margarine, fried foods and packaged cookies and cakes.
But the number one tip for improving you diet is to cut down on processed foods as much as possible! Good luck!
Have you changed your diet recently? Share your tips in the comments!