Diet

Good fat vs. bad fat and why you should eat more healthy fats

Don't fear fats — instead, make sure you're getting healthy essential fats in your diet with these tips. This yummy coconut ball recipe is a great place to start!

coconut, almond butter, nut butter

Photo, Marni Wasserman

Many people have become so fearful of consuming any type of fat that they have taken them right out of their diets, which can lead to a whole host of health problems.

Your body depends on adequate fat and oil intake, which is essential for optimal health. These fats are important building blocks for all the cells of your body, as well as for key hormones. Just as with all foods, you must consume high-quality whole sources of fats and oils in order for your body to use them effectively. These “good” sources of fat don’t stick to your body but instead allow you to use them for energy. So learn to love the word — and all the healthy sources of fat!

10 useful tips for healthy fat consumption

1. Good sources of quality fats include: olive oil, coconut oil and coconut butter, organic butter or ghee, organic grass-fed animal fats, eggs, fish and fish oils, seeds and seed oils (flax, chia, hemp), avocados and raw organic nuts such as walnuts and almonds. (Coconut oil is a healthy saturated plant fat. Our body uses its fatty acid efficiently as a source of energy and balanced nutrition.)

2. Always choose organic foods for safe fats, as many industrial chemicals and commercial farming chemicals are fat-soluble and are stored in the fats of animals, fowl, fish and plants.

3. Fats to avoid: trans fatty acids, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils (the high temperatures used to produce these oils, think margarine, will destroy their nutrients), fats from conventionally-raised animals and fish.

4. When purchasing an essential fatty acid (EFA) supplement or fish oil, contact the manufacturer to determine what the carrier oil is if it’s not listed on the label. Soy oil is commonly used because it’s cheap. The carrier oils are often rancid and draw the antioxidant qualities from the good oil in the capsules.

5. Avoid eating roasted nuts because the roasting process causes the fats and oils to go rancid, increasing free-radical damage in your body. (In other words, they make you age faster.)

6. Avoid non-organic dairy sources. In many cases, milk is loaded with the same sort of fat-soluble chemicals found in meats.

7. Avoid any and all deep-fried foods, unless you prepare them yourself and you use coconut or palm oil. Even then, frying and deep-frying should be kept to a minimum.

8. Always use heat-stable fats and oils for cooking, like coconut or grapeseed oil. Avoid using polyunsaturated oils at higher heat temperatures, like olive, sunflower or safflower oil.

9. It’s simply best to never eat from fast-food restaurants. They use low-quality foods and fats, many of which are highly processed.

10. If you’re a mom, I would recommend going out of your way to assure that your children get adequate EFA’s – feed your kids whole organic food and healthy fats!

Coco bliss energy balls recipe
Makes 20-25 balls

High-energy little bites of goodness! Enjoy these for a midday snack or before you head to the gym.

Ingredients:
¾ cup almond butter (or sunflower seed butter to make it nut free)
¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup sesame seeds or hemp seeds
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 cup oat bran
½ cup oat flakes
½ cup unsweetened coconut

1. Add nut butter, tahini, and maple syrup to a bowl or food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Add sesame seeds, cocoa powder, oat bran and oat flakes and blend until the mixture becomes like dough.
3. Scrape down the sides of bowl or food processor as necessary. Spread coconut on a plate.
4. Shape the mixture into one-inch balls and roll these in the shredded coconut.
5. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks. They even taste amazing frozen!