Contrary to popular belief, not all fat sources are bad for our health. Fats have gotten a bad reputation over the years, but with’ the rise of the ‘low carb, high fat’ (sometimes abbreviated as LCHF) diet, this looks set to change.
If you’re following a LCHF or Ketogenic diet then it may come as no surprise that certain fats are actually great for your health, with purported benefits that can help to boost the metabolism and assist with fat loss in the process.
Remember – fat doesn’t make you fat!
By taking away carbohydrates, the body is forced to find an alternative source of energy to fuel itself each day instead, and that source just so happens to be body fat. By taking away the body’s preferred source of energy however, in the form of carbohydrates, we instead need to get our energy from elsewhere, which is why low carb diets rely so heavily on a selection of healthy fats.
If you’re following a LCHF diet, here’s a look at five of the best healthy fats and oils, and their benefits:
Avocados are often referred to as ‘nature’s butter’ due to the fact that their flesh is so rich and creamy. In terms of calories, avocados consist of nearly 80% fat, yet the fat that they contain is considered to be extremely healthy.
The primary fat found in avocados is a monounsaturated fat known as oleic acid. This fat actually helps to boost resting metabolic rates, and lowers blood triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol, whilst boosting HDL (good) cholesterol in the process. As well as being rich in fat, they’re also a great source of potassium and other minerals, and are naturally low in carbs.
The term ‘grass-fed butter’ refers to butter which comes from cows that have been fed on grass, as opposed to grains. The reason for this is mainly down to the fact that the grass they eat contains more nutrients than grains.
Butter naturally contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which provide a whole array of different health benefits, which would truthfully take too long to list them all. Just a few of the main benefits of these healthy fatty acids include: improved cardiovascular health, improved brain health and function, enhanced major organ function, and even an increase in resting metabolic rates, which results in fat loss and energy production.
Butter is also rich in a selection of fat-soluble vitamins, along with a potent antioxidant known as selenium, which provides anti-cancer benefits.
Organic Coconut Oil
When it comes to healthy and delicious cooking oils, you’d struggle to find a more beneficial oil than organic coconut oil. Coconut oil is actually rich in saturated fat, yet despite what some people believe, not all saturated fat is bad for you!
Organic coconut oil is made up of MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides) as well as a potent fatty acid called lauric acid. Lauric acid helps to lower LDL cholesterol and provides anti-bacterial benefits in the process. When it comes to low carb diets however, organic coconut oil really comes into its own as it has been found to significantly boost the metabolism, whilst helping to reduce hunger by increasing feelings of satiety. It also gives foods a great coconut-like taste, and has a much higher burning temperature than other oils.
Olive oil provides substantial cardiovascular benefits, and is considered by many health experts to be a biomarker of wellness. One of the main benefits of olive oil is the fact that it boosts HDL cholesterol whilst significantly reducing oxidized LDL cholesterol, which provides protection against heart disease, strokes, hypertension, and even heart attacks.
If possible, always opt for extra virgin olive oil as this contains far more nutrients than regular olive oil and has a much more impressive nutrition profile.
Salmon is great for low carb diets as it is packed full of protein and healthy fats, as well as a number of minerals, including immune system-boosting zinc. Salmon is an oily fish which is particularly rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which as we now know, provide a wide range of health. The protein promotes lean muscle growth, which in itself boosts the metabolism as muscle requires more calories for maintenance than fat.
Protein is also a thermogenic compound, which basically means that it is tougher for the body to digest and break down than other macronutrients. This means the body works harder and utilizes more energy during the digestion process, which in turn means more calories are burnt off.
If possible, choose wild salmon instead of farmed. It is widely regarded as being superior in taste to farmed salmon, and contains far more nutrients.