Does fat really make you fat? Of course not — it makes you feel vibrant and alive. Fat helps support healthy hormones, promotes the absorption of other nutrients, provides energy, and manages both blood pressure and cholesterol. Learning a variety of sources of healthy fats is one of the most important steps you can take towards living an optimal life.
What Healthy Vegan-Friendly Fats Should I Include?
Fat is a macronutrient, so it can be found in almost everything we eat. But similarly to the concept of “not all calories are created equal,” not every source of fat we eat can be considered a great source of fat.
Mixing saturated and unsaturated fats in your diet helps to promote a healthy body. Saturated fats are highest in animal sources, like meat, dairy, and eggs. Unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) are higher in plant-based fat sources. Let’s take a look at some of the best plant-based sources of fat we can find.
Avocados are mostly monounsaturated fat, with a small amount of polyunsaturated and saturated fat. In this “fruit” you’ll also find some potassium, sodium, and fiber. Potassium and sodium found together are a great way to balance hydration. Fiber helps to maintain healthy digestion, blood pressure, and even cholesterol levels!
Blending avocado into smoothies can help thicken them up, making them creamy and delicious. You can also mix up this recipe for Avocado Lime Crema for a tasty topping for tacos, chili, or in a slaw. These healthy fat sources really are the vegan home chef’s best friend.
Chia seeds are a great form of omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory fats). Omega-6 fats, on the contrary, are inflammatory and should be avoided.
Americans typically have a higher omega-6 fat diet already, so incorporating more sources of omega-3 fats can help balance it out. Chia seeds are also high in fiber and minerals like calcium, magnesium, selenium, and copper.
You can add chia seeds to yogurt, overnight oats, and smoothies to thicken them up and add some more texture. You can also make chia seed pudding: just mix chia seeds and milk together, letting it sit until the seeds expand.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
EVOO has a blend of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. This nutrient-dense fat source is also high in E and K, which are two fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, and vitamin K helps with bone health.
Because of the high antioxidant content and stability of the fats in EVOO, it has the biggest range of cooking uses.
Flax Seeds are another great source of omega-3 fats, and like chia seeds, they are incredibly versatile.
You can eat them whole in granola, or you can grind them up and mix them into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, and more!
Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and pecans are great sources of unsaturated fats and other minerals that help support a healthy body.
While nuts are usually considered a snack food, try toasting them and adding them as a topping on a salad or soup, or blending them into a nut butter with apple slices.
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