The wonderful thing about fat, is that it has a high satiety value. This means it helps to control cravings and manage your waistline because you feel fuller for longer. When you eat fat, cholecystokinin (CCK) and the gut hormone YY Peptide (PYY)are released. These two hormones control appetite and satiety. Appetite is decreased, hunger is suppressed and you feel satisfied.
Not only does is affect hormones but fat contributes to the texture, flavor, and aroma of foods making them tastier and more satisfying. When you add healthy fats to your diet and are mindful about how full you feel, you naturally eat less.
Essential Fatty Acids
Healthy fats are a good source of essential fatty acids which are responsible for many different reactions in the body. These fats are essential because the body doesn’t manufacture them and we need to get them from our food. Because they are foundational building blocks for hormone production, fats are important for weight management.
It always surprises me when I hear women in my practice say that they are afraid to eat foods like olives, avocado and nuts because they are high in calories. This is an outdated practice and it’s contrary to modern science. We need to let it go. Avocado served with a little balsamic vinegar or fresh tomatoes and basil is a delicious snack.
Fatty acids have additional potent biological activity. The typical American diet is high in omega 6 fats found in refined oils such as corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, canola and vegetable oils as well as conventionally fed animal protein.
Omega 6 fats are highly inflammatory. With the advent of processed and convenience foods the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats in our diet have gone from a healthy ratio of 1:1 to more like 20:1. It’s no wonder that inflammation is rampant in our culture. We need to be eating more omega 3 and omega 9 fats for their anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation is a major reason why I see mid-life women struggling with their weight.
Eating foods with the wrong kinds of fat will help you to gain weight. Trans fats found in pie crusts and other baked goodies are likely to be loaded with partially hydrogenated fat—READ trans fats. You may be under the impression that trans fats have been removed from our foods but that will not be completed until mid-2018. Make sure you are reading the ingredients on the label of prepared foods.
On the other hand, healthy fats will help suppress your appetite, reduce the calories you eat in a day, support your heart health and help to boost your metabolism. Here are some delicious foods with good amounts of healthy fats
9 Healthy Fat Foods to Help Tame Inflammation.
- Fatty fish—One of the best sources of omega 3 fats are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel. An added benefit of fish is short cooking time which allows you to get dinner on the table more quickly.
- Chia seeds—Loaded with amino acids, healthy fatty acids and fiber, chia seeds are a great choice. One of the benefits is how easy they are to use. Just add them to a smoothie, granola, a soup or casserole. Ground flax seeds are great fat too.
- Olives and olive oil—Extra virgin olive oil can add lots of flavor and healthy fat to your meals. A word of caution with olive oil is to avoid heat above 350 degrees. If you are roasting veggies at 375 or searing fish, chicken or meat, a more stable oil like avocado oil. When it comes to olive oil look for real extra-virgin organic cold pressed oil in a darkly tinted bottle. Olives are a great addition to veggies, soups and casseroles because they pack a lot of flavor. LINK to olive oil article
- Butter—Grass fed butter is a good source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) a fatty acid which is associated with improving lean muscle mass and reducing body fat. It contains butyric acid, a short chain fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties, omega 3’s, and up to 5 times more CLA than butter from grain fed cows.
- Pasture raised organic eggs—These eggs are a great choice because they contain more omega 3 fats than conventionally raised eggs and are lower in cholesterol
- Coconut oil—Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) which have many health benefits. MCT’s are easier to digest, not readily stored as fat, available for immediate energy and anti-fungal and anti-microbial. They are anti-inflammatory which should be helpful in heart disease prevention but the jury is still out for some scientists. Even though coconut oil increases good cholesterol (HDL), we still don’t really know how coconut oil effects heart disease. The recommendation is to use it more sparingly.
- Avocados—This versatile fruit is largely made of oleic acid which is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid with many health benefits. Add avocados to smoothies (makes the texture velvety), salads, use it as a spread on toast and add it to sandwiches. Or just eat it pure—half an avocado with lemon juice and your favorite seasonings. You can also make this delicious avocado summer soup.
- I also like avocado oil for cooking. It is a monounsaturated fat which raises good cholesterol while lowering the bad and it has a high smoke point. This makes it a great choice for higher heat cooking like roasting veggies or searing meats.
- Walnuts—Many nuts and seeds contain healthy fats but walnuts contain the most omega 3 fats.