8 Tips How to Add Healthy Fats Into Your Daily Diet

plant based fats coconut chia avocado

The most common misconception about fat is, it’s bad. But did you know it can actually help in weight loss, disease prevention and improve brain health?

Yes, it’s true and we'll tell you how!

Contents

  • What are Healthy Fats
  • Why Do We Need Fat
  • Healthy Fats vs Unhealthy Fats
  • What are the Healthy Fats to Eat
  • Are Saturated Fats Healthy
  • The Unhealthy Fat--Trans Fat
  • 8 Best Healthy Fats (vegan and keto friendly)
  • How Much Fat Do You Need to Eat Per Day
  • Replacing Bad Fats with Good, Plant based Fats
  • 8 Ways You Can Add Healthy Fats to Your Diet 

What are healthy fats?

Fats has always had a bad reputation. Mainly because in the 40s, scientific studies suggested a low-fat diet could prevent heart disease.

Then throughout the 80’s and decades after, that ideology was promoted by the government, doctors, media and health industries even without enough medical evidence to support their claims.

But today, we know better. We’ve become aware of the “good side” of fats.

We now know and understand how fat plays a role in weight loss, muscle building, brain health and overall fitness. And how essential fatty acids prevent inflammation and infections.

Although not one macronutrient is more important than the other, fat is the most undervalued and misunderstood macro.  

Proteins and carbs are about quantity. You can take as much protein as you can and less carbs.

On the contrary, with fats, it’s about quality.

While this may be true, too much fat, whether monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, can cause weight gain.

Although the Dietary Guidelines for Americans doesn’t have an exact required daily intake, they recommend “Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake.”

The work around is to combine a good ratio of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet.  

plant based sources of healthy fats

Why Does the Body Need Fat? 

Along with protein and carbohydrates, fats is one of the three essential macronutrients needed in the proper function of the nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems.

Fats are the food’s flavor carrier and an excellent source of energy. When there is sufficient fat, important functions in the body run smoothly.

In the keto diet, fat is the most important cornerstone and the main supplier of energy. Large amounts of fat is consumed and small amounts of carbs.

But would too much fat make you fat

Contrary to what many think, any macronutrient can make us gain weight, be it fat, protein or carbohydrates.

We gain weight because we’re in a calorie surplus--when we consume more calories than we ultimately burn.

So, fat definitely doesn’t make us fat.

It’s the total calories that ultimately make us gain weight.

However, if you’re looking into losing weight, keto is an effective and healthy way to lose weight using fat.

On keto, the body automatically burns fat (whether from food or your body's own reserves) and converts fatty acids into ketones, which now supply the body with energy.

The longer the body goes on with less carbs, the more ketones are produced and the body reaches the state of ketosis. Ketosis then causes weight loss, fat burning, increased cognitive function and constant supply of energy.

Healthy Fats vs Unhealthy Fats 

best healthy fats oils
trans fatty acids fries chips burger

Not all fats are the same. The healthy fats contain numerous fatty acids that have their own essential metabolic function including:

  • Supplying the body with essential fatty acids. 
  • Helping transport fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K. 
  • Providing and storing energy. 
  • Essential building block of cells, nerves, tissues. 
  • Serving as protection from cold. 
  • Protecting internal organs like the brain and kidneys. 

So, to help you make the right decision in choosing the right fat you should be stocking up on and which fat you should cut from your diet, here are the different types of fat. 

What are healthy fats to eat?

Unsaturated fatty acids

This type of unsaturated fatty acid forms an important basis for various metabolic processes in the body due to its chemical structure.  
They are vital in:

  • Absorbing fat-soluble vitamins
  • Helping burn fat, reduce inflammation, and improve overall performance of the nervous system. 
  • Reducing LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in the blood which prevents atherosclerosis.  
  • Ensuring that muscles are more sensitive to insulin which means energy supplied goes directly to muscle building.  

There are two categories of unsaturated fatty acids: 

  • Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) 

These fatty acids boost metabolism and are easily digestible. They’re necessary in the production of testosterone, the hormone crucial in muscle building.

Similar to polyunsaturated fatty acids, they also help lower cholesterol levels in the blood and help the body utilize fat-soluble vitamins.

Excellent sources of monounsaturated fatty acids are avocado, olive oil, and rapeseed oil. 

This type of fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect, beneficial for people who have rheumatism, arthritis or neurodermatitis.

Lack of essential fatty acids can cause increased susceptibility to infections, visual disturbances, muscle weakness and skin eczema. 

This type of fatty acids are subdivided into omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Both are involved in the regulation of blood pressure, blood circulation and cell membrane composition. To experience their positive effects, intake of these two should be balanced.

An excess of omega-6 can have a negative impact on the body, cancelling out the positive effects mentioned.

However, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, an “optimal ratio” for these two fatty acids “has not been defined”.  

“Some researchers propose that the relative intakes of omega-6s and omega-3s—the omega-6/omega-3 ratio—may have important implications for the pathogenesis of many chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, but the optimal ratio—if any—has not been defined.” - National Institute of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements 

Good plant-based sources of omega-3 are seeds like chia, flax, and hemp; and oils like linseed and hemp oil.

While omega-6 is common in vegetable oils like sunflower, corn, safflower, soybean; and in nuts and seeds like walnuts and pumpkin seeds. 

Are Saturated Fats Healthy?

SFA or saturated fatty acids are energy suppliers and messengers in the body. Foods with saturated fat are solid at room temperature like cheese and butter.

They’re mainly found in animal products like sausages, meat, and milk. But the best plant based source is coconut oil. 

These fatty acids have been known to be unhealthy but if consumed in moderation, they pose no negative effects on health. 

The American Heart Association suggests “limiting saturated fats” and recommends only “5% to 6% calories from saturated fat.”

“Decades of sound science has proven it [saturated fat] can raise your “bad” cholesterol and put you at higher risk for heart disease.

vegan butter saturated fats healthy

The more important thing to remember is the overall dietary picture. Saturated fats are just one piece of the puzzle. In general, you can’t go wrong eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fewer calories. - American Heart Association 

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Keeping organized and always needing something handy to eat is crucial while trying to meet your macros, especially at the start of your vegan or plant based keto journey.

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The Unhealthy Fat---TRANS FAT

Trans fatty acids, or trans fats, occur in natural and food-technological processes. They are found in ready-made and processed products like French fries, chips, cookies, croissants.

Excessive consumption of trans increases blood lipid levels and the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

But you can avoid the negative side effects of trans fats by using the right oil when cooking.

For instance:

  • When cooking at medium temperature, use olive oil or butter. 
  • High temperatures like deep-frying, use heat-resistant oils like refined rapeseed oil, coconut oil or ghee.  
  • For cold dishes like salads and spreads, use vegetable oils with a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These include linseed oil and hemp oil. 
  • For roasting and baking, use extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, ghee and coconut oil.  

Top 8 Healthy Vegan Fats That Are Also Keto Diet Friendly 

If you’re at the beginning of a diet change, say keto, choosing foods with healthy fats and eating enough of it can be a struggle.

But whether you're just starting out on keto or you've been around for a long time, getting enough healthy fats will always be at the top of your list.

So, what foods are healthy fats you can add to your list? Or healthy fats for keto?

As a newbie on keto or simply someone who wants to up their fat intake, this list of healthy fats foods will help you get started.  

How Much Fat Should You Eat Per Day? 

In a healthy adult diet, the dietary reference intake is a minimum of 20% to a maximum of 35% of your energy needs from fat.

This equates to about 75-77 grams if you eat 2,000 calories in a day.

Preferably, no more than 10% of your energy requirement comes from saturated fat.  

  • Monounsaturated fat: 15%-20% 
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 5%-10% 
  • Saturated fat: less than 10% 
  • Trans fat: 0% 
  • Cholesterol: less than 300 mg per day 
plant based fat sources supplements

We know too much fat can kill you, we all know that.

Our body stores these in, basically, anywhere--it’s disgusting, isn’t it? Under the skin, around the waist, in the liver, pancreas, and heart.

When stored in these areas, they cause a number of diseases from chronic inflammation to cardiovascular diseases.

But did you know too little fat is also harmful? 

A lack of essential fatty acids can cause the following:  

  • Decreased ability to learn ; Neurological disorders 
  • Hair loss 
  • Stunt growth 
  • Infertility 
  • Poor eyesight 
  • Weakened immune system 
  • Kidney and liver damage 
  • Poor wound healing 

If decreasing fat intake is part of your diet, the stored fat is first used but deficiency may be a consequence. You may also feel cold more often because the insulation layer is missing. 

Should You Replace Bad Fats with Good, Plant based Fats?

Plant based fats are good in stabilizing cholesterol level 

Compared to animal fats, vegetable or plant based fats have positive effects on the body. It's best to choose products that contain high amounts of plant based fats which are naturally rich in omega-3 and omega-6 to maintain a balanced cholesterol level. 

Plant based fats are packed with essential vitamins and minerals 

Fat contains important nutrients you need to stay healthy. These nutrients are present in plants, some even more so than animal products.  

Plant based fats are excellent sources of energy 

Fats are vital to prevent feeling dull and tired. With a healthy diet, about 20 to 40% of energy comes from fat and you can get these in plant based sources too. 

blueberries granola oats chia seeds sunflower seeds grapes
plant based keto ebook guide

FREE eBook Download

Keeping organized and always needing something handy to eat is crucial while trying to meet your macros, especially at the start of your vegan or plant based keto journey.

With this guide, you'll enjoy a realistic and sustainable plant based keto lifestyle -- because it's possible!

Download Now

8 Ways You Can Add Healthy Fats to your Daily Diet 

How do you get the right fats? By replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats as much as possible. You can do this by switching animal products with plant-based alternatives.

In this way, your body gets good essential fatty acids--fats that you can only get through food and that your body needs to function properly. 

1. Avoid trans fat as much as possible 

Trans fat is bad for your health, they contain a lot of hidden fats that are harmful to health and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Limiting or giving up trans fat may mean decreasing eating cookies, pastries and fast food meals.

2. Replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat

Saturated fats also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

It’s recommended to use soft types of fat like low-fat margarine and oil for cooking because they contain more unsaturated fats. 

Coconut oil is a special case
You have probably already noticed that coconut oil is hyped as a superfood. Some people don’t consider coconut as unsaturated fatty acids, but more of the saturated ones.

Why? Simply because coconut oil provides tons of energy. It can also take extreme heat but doesn’t oxidize when used in high temperatures unlike the unhealthy trans fats we’ve come to know. 

3. Use healthy oils  

sunflower seeds and oil white background

One of the easiest ways to add healthy fats to your diet is to use healthy vegetable oils, like olive, canola, corn, sunflower and safflower oils.

Try swapping your usual salad dressing for a drizzle of oil. You can also switch olive oil with flaxseed oil as this has a favorable omega 3 to 6 ratio and is one of the richest sources of the essential fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid. 

4. Use soft types of fat

The soft types of fat like low-fat margarine for bread and use oil for cooking. They contain more unsaturated fats.

However, remember that your intake should still be limited. A quarter drop in the pan is 1 serving. 

5. Eat more vegetables 

Eat your favorite fatty vegetables in a variety of ways, including raw, to get a healthier fat in your diet.

Green vegetables and beans may contain lower amounts of healthy fats but are high-quality.

Avocados are full of healthy fats and are considered a superfood. 230 g of pureed avocado has a whopping 35 g of fat or 55% of your recommended daily allowance.  

6. Add seeds

Seeds are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. 1 tablespoon or 10.3 g of flaxseed contains 4.3 g of fat and has 55 calories.

The same amount of chia seeds contains about 4 g of fat and has 65 calories.

Add these to a salad, smoothie, yogurt or mix them in your bread recipe for an extra boost of healthy fats. 

Sunflower Seeds - Roasted & Unsalted
Sunflower Seeds - Roasted & Unsalted
Sunflower Seeds - Roasted & Unsalted
Sunflower Seeds - Roasted & Unsalted
Sunflower Seeds - Roasted & Unsalted
Pumpkin Seeds - Roasted and Unsalted
Pumpkin Seeds - Roasted and Unsalted
Pumpkin Seeds - Roasted and Unsalted
Pumpkin Seeds - Roasted and Unsalted
Pumpkin Seeds - Roasted and Unsalted

7. Read your labels 

Look for foods high in healthy fats. If the nutrition label contains a lot of saturated fat, it’s an unhealthy fat.

Watch out for grams of unsaturated fat, including mono and polyunsaturated fats.

There are various foods high in fat, the key is finding them in sources you enjoy eating. 

8. Take supplements if necessary 

For whatever reason you cannot add healthy fats in your diet, including taste preference, cost, time restrictions, or preparation; use nutritional supplements to get in essential fatty acids.

However, taking supplements should be a last resort as healthy fats straight from food sources are believed to be more effective than supplemental forms.

Supplements are not absorbed by the body as well. If possible, rely on supplements only on days when you feel your natural intake is not enough.

And of course, always seek your doctor’s advice if there’s a necessity to take these or the kind of supplements you need.  

omega 3 supplements

Conclusion

While vitamins and minerals will always keep us healthy and fit, fats and oils have important roles, too.

Completely removing fat from your diet when trying to lose weight could cause more harm than good. As mentioned earlier, not one macro is more important than the other.The body needs a certain amount to survive.

Saturated fatty acids are not bad at all if consumed in moderation as part of a wholesome diet.

Consuming less calories, choosing healthy fats, maintaining a well-balanced diet and following a regular exercise program are all factors to achieve your weight loss goals.

Furthermore, stay away from foods that contain trans fatty acids. These include processed products, fast food, deep-fried, ready-made food, cookies, pastries because these are made with industrially hardened oils.

Rely on high-quality, best healthy fat sources by mixing up your mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids and integrate these healthy fats into your daily menu.

Start today and notice the changes in your body, brain and overall well-being in a matter of weeks!

Does this article make you feel better about your relationship with fat now? What role does fat play in your diet?

What experiences have you had with the different types of fat?

Do you have other tips on how to include healthy fats into your diet?

How do you know you’re getting the good fat and avoiding the bad fat?

Let us know in the comments below!
Cheers! 

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