Previously, in the not so distant past, the intake of fatty foods was frowned upon. Now, the hyperpalatable fatty foods, aka foods that contain assorted combinations of things like fat, sodium (salt), carbohydrates, and sugar, all for the taste, are still something we should just be mindful of. Outside of that, we need a certain amount of essential fatty acids, but we’ll just say “healthy” fats for ease of use. These fats are called linoleic acids, which everyone knows better as omega-6 and omega-3, which our bodies don’t produce naturally, so we have to get them through our foods. If you haven’t heard of that before, no stress! Without going into a chemistry or biochemical lesson, think of them as 9 calories per gram, along with being needed for energy production, support in the structure of cellular membranes, as well as contributing to many other parts of the body. There are many types of fats that contain omega’s, but we’ll save that for another time.
With all that said, how do we know what they are, and how much to get?
Traditionally, with how much we need to get, according to the National Institute of Health, it is good to get around 1.1-1.6g per day (or so) for females, and males, respectively (1). A chart will be linked below that will allow us to take a look at what foods contain what amounts! With that, seeds, nuts, fish, whole eggs, and some oils can be good sources of these healthy fats. Weekly, we should look to incorporate those foods. So, for example, daily, one could intake nuts and seeds, cook with a mild amount of oil (like olive oil for example), and then weekly, intake fish, say, two times per week. This will allow us to get adequate essential fatty acids in our diet, and not add in tons of calories as we use those as some potential substitutions for a few dinners and so forth. So as a take home, look to incorporate some nuts and seeds, avocado’s, incorporate some seafood if possible, and maybe add in some oils for the essential fats that can account for our daily intake. They aren’t bad for us in moderation, we need them and they’re good for us!
Chart from Harvard (about halfway down the page):
*For information purposes only, see a registered dietician for specific foods that you can intake. The listed are only for example sake only*