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Unquestionably good fats
(article, Marissa Lippert)
Forget the carbohydrate or protein crazes of years past; fat is all the rage right now. We're reading Jennifer McLagan's Fat (the James Beard Association’s 2009 Cookbook of the Year) and savoring duck-fat fries in chic restaurants, while worrying over trans fats in packaged foods and whether or not fats really clog our arteries.
These recipes are packed with healthful fats.
I’d like to take a moment to stand up for fat. Of course, my background as a nutritionist positions me to build this column around the health benefits of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, but I do think there's also a place in most people's diets for saturated fats from quality meats and cheeses, eaten in moderation. That said, here we'll focus on the unsaturated fats that serve us so well.
Where does the fat in your diet come from? Take a close look to ensure you’re getting your fill of unsaturated fats.
h3. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
Unsaturated fats help to lower our cholesterol levels, keep our skin plump and youthful, and fill us up fast on something that’s actually satisfying (insert flavorless fat-free item of your choice here).
[%image reference-image float=right width=400 caption="Avocados taste good and are good for you."]Oils: These include olive, canola, avocado, sunflower, grapeseed, peanut, and sesame oils. From salad dressings to marinades to drizzling, a little oil a day will definitely add to the health and satisfaction level of a dish.
Avocadoes: Who can pass up dipping into a bowl of fresh-made guacamole? And try tossing a few slices of avocado into a salad or on a sandwich for a healthy treat.
Nuts, seeds, olives, and nut and seed butters are great for snacks or for adding to salads and side dishes. And yes, your beloved PB&J sandwich from childhood is actually healthful! Try a natural, organic nut butter and some banana slices on whole-grain bread for an energizing snack or meal.
h3. Omega-3 fats
These powerhouse fats do everything from protecting against cardiovascular disease to treating depression and anxiety symptoms and improving cognitive function. They may also reduce overall inflammation as well as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and cancer risk.
Although many grocery items, including orange juice, eggs, and yogurt, are now supplemented with omega-3s, the best naturally occurring sources of these fats are oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines, along with flaxseed, walnuts, and grass-fed beef and organic dairy products.
Aim for two or three servings of fatty fish per week to get your omega-3 benefit. Each serving is about 500 to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3s, which are divided between the two primary types of these fats: DHA (docosapentaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, look for an omega-3 supplement that’s derived from algae instead of fish. Your daily recommended dosage from algae is about 1,000 milligrams.
p(bio). Marissa Lippert is a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in New York City.