Sometimes people (like myself) would rather not eat oils because they are devoid of protein, fiber, and vitamins. Although olive oil has been praised as a much healthier alternative to other oils, the truth is that the benefits of the so-called Mediterranean diet derive from the high quantity of nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits rather than the presence of olive oil alone.
However, it is still important to get essential fatty nutrients in your diet. Fats, along with carbohydrates and protein, are one of three macronutrients that your body needs to function properly.
-They give you energy.
-They aid in brain development. In a study of 6,000 women, a correlation was found between consumption of healthy fats and cognitive ability.
-They help keep hair and skin healthy. They can even help with skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis (more here).
-They balance hormones.
-They may lead to a longer life. Another recent study found that a daily dose of (any) nut can decrease death risk by 20% over 30 years.
Even those with restricted diets can receive all the benefits of plant-based fats through various methods.
1. Whole Foods- These are obviously a great way to get fats because they are full of nutrition, flavor, and texture. Some of my favorite ways to eat healthy fats are in salad dressings or healthy raw desserts. Here are some of the most popular and versatile fat sources:
-Nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc.)
-Seeds (hemp, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, etc.)
2. Supplements- This is a very easy way to get your essential fats. Oil supplements are portable, low-calorie, and practically tasteless. Eventually, it will become second nature to incorporate gel capsules (vegetarian, of course) into your routine along with any other pills or vitamins you might be taking.
3. Leafy Greens- This is unknown to many, but greens are actually one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. 5 cups of spinach would provide the average woman with about as much as she would need the whole day. 5 cups may sound like a lot, but it cooks down to much less. Certain greens, like kale, contain a decent amount of omega-6’s as well.
4. Topical Products- Applying healthy fats to your body, face and hair can be just as beneficial as consuming them. Coconut oil has about a million different uses- from moisturizer to conditioner to even anti-bacterial mouthwash (ever heard of oil pulling?) Avocado masks can prevent wrinkles and also fight free radicals. And believe it or not, olive oil makes a great face wash!
There are so many ways to benefit from all the goodness that plant-based fats have to offer. I hope that you will be inspired to think outside the box when it comes to getting your essential fats!
Also by Quincy: 7 Inexpensive Ways to Treat Yourself