Four Healthy Fats to Keep You Fit
Learn from Kris J. Simpson what the top 4 Healthy Fats are to boost your immune system, improve your cognitive abilities and manage your weight!
It was two decades ago, and I was preparing for my first bodybuilding show.
The nutrition ideology was quite different back then, and dietary fat was not in fashion, not even healthy fats.
I bought into the myth that dietary fat of all types was the cause of many health and weight problems.
I focused on reducing the fat in my diet as low as possible, and after the bodybuilding event, I learned the hard way why fat is so important for our overall health and well-being.
I had acute but short-term side effects from the radically low-fat diet I was following including:
- Extremely low libido
- Inflammation in my joints
- Hair fall-out. Yes, that’s right, a lot of my hair fell out!
These symptoms disappeared in the months after the event as I got back to my regular diet which included a lot more dietary fat.
Here’s a look at the four sources of healthy fats that I would recommend to improve your health, manage your weight and even improve your cognitive performance.
- Butter: Yes butter is back! After being shelved with the introduction of margarine and the very successful marketing campaign that included the slogan “I can’t believe it’s not butter,” butter is making a comeback! I am quite pleased about this since it can offer these benefits:
- Contains both Omega 3-6 fatty acids to improve overall health
- Rich in fat-soluble vitamins and trace minerals, including selenium a powerful antioxidant
- Coconut Oil: The coconut has found a new home far from the Caribbean now that it has become popular across North America. Here are some of the benefits:
- Readily used as energy and less likely to be stored as fat
- Reduces inflammation
- High in antioxidants
- Avocados: The strange looking food that doesn’t look much like a fruit has become very mainstream in the last few years, and it’s no wonder why. Look at these benefits:
- High in Vitamin E
- High in Protein
- High in Folate
- Fish (certain varieties): Fish such as Salmon, Trout, Sardines, Mackerel and Anchovies are all supercharged with Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to humans because we cannot produce this type of fat and must get it from our food. Here are the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids:
- Benefits brain function
- Improves immune system
- Managing inflammation
MCT Oil: This was a supplement that I used to increase my dietary fat for my second bodybuilding show (after learning some harsh lessons from the first show). I was shocked with how much more energy I had during that contest prep period and also how my memory seemed to be incredibly sharp.
Adding fat to your diet is not frowned upon any longer, but I must warn you that it is a very dense macro nutrient as it yields 9 calories per gram versus protein and carbs which only yield 4 calories per gram.
Of course, one could argue that not every calorie is created equally, but we do know that at the end of the day, calories do count and accumulate.
With that being said, I would recommend 20-35% of your total calories come from healthy fats.
Inspire to Aspire,
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[otw_shortcode_content_toggle title=”Get the Full Transcript” opened=”closed”]Welcome to the all inclusive Lifestyles show where we help you cultivate energy, restore balance, and live this all inclusive life, which includes fat. Actually, four healthy fats that you’ll need to stay fit. And that’s gonna be our topic tonight. And I’ve got an interesting backstory about fat. and it actually happened about 20 years ago. And this is when I was an aspiring body builder, and I was getting ready for my first body building show. And 20 years ago, the nutrition ideology had really shifted. And right now, you know fats are our friend. And they’re in fashion. It’s almost a fad now. Everyone’s talking about fat, you know. From body builders and also fitness enthusiasts, and nutritionists, and high performance specialists. And fat is really in. But it wasn’t in about 20 years ago. And what I did with my diet for my first body building show, I tried to get my fat percentage of total calories down as low as I could. And as I remember, again this is a long time ago, I think I got it down to 5%, 5% of total calories. Which is quite low. And I’m gonna give you the recommendation as far as percentage of total calories, how fat your intake should be. But it ain’t 5%, I guarantee that. And what happened in that show, is I did quite well first of all, but I had a lot of negative side effects after the show. Okay, one of them, and this actually happened probably even prior to the show, was low libido. I wasn’t interested in anything else but that show, and getting to that show. I definitely wasn’t interested in sex. I didn’t have much of a libido at all. Now I wasn’t worried about that because I was really so focused on the body building, but, afterwards I said “wow, that was kind of weird.” The second thing was that my hair fell out. So I really identified that as a serious health problem. You know when we have hair fall out, that’s usually identifying that something’s seriously wrong with our health. And that’s what happened to me. And that’s what really woke me up after the show when I started losing a lot of hair. That basically tells you just how important fat is. Or at least it told me that anyways. And my whole ideology of fat completely changed. You know back then, 20 years ago, what they were trying to do was take fat out of a lot of the processed products. In fact I remember buying these cookies, and I forget the name of them, but they were so good because they were so sweet, because they were laden with sugar. But they were low fat. And that’s what you saw on all the packaging. You know low fat this, low fat that. And that was the fad at that point in time. And I certainly bought into it. But I certainly had some really negative health side effects with my ultra, ultra low fat diet. You can always count on us guinea pigs, us body builders, for experimenting with ourselves all the time. If you want to find out when you take something really far and really extreme, and really radical, what the side effects would be, and that’s what it was for me on a low fat diet. So I want to show you now why you need four of these essential healthy fatty acids in your diet to say fit. Number one, butter is back baby. It is. We’re talking about butter again, and we’re not shunning it. It’s actually coming back into mainstream and I’m happy, because butter is tasty, it’s got tons of texture, and it makes me feel full. Fortunately, Mandy, my one and only, she cooks with butter. And I notice whenever we use butter in the cooking, that I just got more satiety, or the feeling of feeling full for longer. And that’s great. So we use it sparingly. But it’s got a bunch of health benefits as well. It contains both Omega-3 and Omega-6, that we just spoke about earlier. All of these acids are found naturally in butter. And it’s really unfortunate that it got onto the banned list but I think that was the push of the trans fats, you know. Hey, it almost tastes like butter, or some sort of cliche commercial, I can’t remember. What was it Mandy, was it, it tastes like butter or something like that. I can’t remember. But anyways, it’s an old commercial. And it was pushing margarine if you remember. Which is trans fat. It’s basically vegetable oil that’s been hydrogenated and now it’s a solid and it was tasty, but it had all those harmful side effects as well. And butter got the boot, and it’s just making a comeback right now, fortunately. And some other things about butter that you might not know is it’s really rich in fats soluble vitamins and trace minerals including selenium. Now selenium is a great antioxidant. We need tons of those because there’s lots of toxic things in our environment from the food that we eat, to the air that we breathe. So we need more antioxidants these days. And believe it or not, butter actually provides that. And I do suggest the grass fed option. This is not the grass fed option. Just a natural option, but if you can get your hand on the grass fed, than you’re gonna find that the profile, the nutrition profile’s quite different, quite better, than you typical garden variety butter. And also you may have heard of ghee. That’s something that’s becoming quite popular now, especially with cooking. Coconut Oil. It’s been getting tons of press lately. And I cook with it as well. In fact the best way, or the best food to cook the coconut oil with is popcorn for me. It’s got a completely different taste than a lot of your vegetable oils, you know canola oil, or safflower oil, peanut oil. So you have to have a taste for it. But if you do, with popcorn, it’s just amazing. And with lots of other foods as well. But some of the benefits here is it can be readily used as an energy source. So it takes a different metabolic route as it’s being digested. And it goes immediately to your liver, and it’s ready to be used as energy. Much different than a lot of the other fats. And that all is because of the chain. It’s got a shorter, it’s got a medium chain actually type of composition or chemistry to it. And again, it’s quite different than your typical saturated fats, and can be used as energy. And least likely to be stored as fat, which is a big bonus. It reduces inflammation. You’ll find a lot of these fats that I’m mentioning do reduce inflammation in those responses or those diseases, arthritis is one of the major ones. And the one that’s being researched the most right now is in our brain, and that would be Alzheimer’s. Also high in antioxidants. And let’s move on to the next, or the third healthy fat of four. And this is going to be my little buddy over here, the avocado. I love to use avocados in salads. And put some tomatoes, put some cucumbers, a dash of sea salt, and maybe some basil and you got one heck of a salad. So tasty. And here’s what the avocado can give you. More importantly it’s high in Vitamin E. We know that’s an antioxidant vitamin. Good for anyone who’s aging and wants to mitigate that aging. So I highly recommend the avocados for us older people. High in protein. I think it’s got four grams of protein. That’s not a lot, but being a fruit arguably, that’s high. There’s really no other fruit that has that much protein. So that’s kind of a cool bonus too. High in folate. If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know how important this B vitamin folate is. It’s really high, so if you are planning on getting pregnant, or you are pregnant, then this would be a good natural source of that B vitamin folate. So last but not least, fish. We’ve been talking lots about salmon, but hey, I just picked up some rainbow trout over here. And I’m dying to try them. I’ve had trout before, but it’s not common. Salmon is sort of the fish that we always talk about when we’re trying to get the Omega-3 fatty acids which have been really mainstream in the last 10 years. And you can get them naturally through fish, like the rainbow trout. I believe the rainbow trout has two grams per three and a half ounces, so it’s actually a little bit higher than salmon, which only has one and a half. So if you want to switch it up, and you’re always looking for salmon to get those Omega-3’s, then your trout is one option. Tuna really isn’t an option. Tuna has mainstreamed as well. I can’t believe how many cans I used to eat when I was body building, until I learned that while perhaps I was gonna be wound up with mercury poison if I didn’t slow it down a little bit. So but tuna really is not a good source Omega-3’s. So try to get more of the salmon or the trout. Sardines, anchovies, you know, I think you have to have more of a palat for those kinds of foods. You know I see them on pizza but I don’t see too many people eating them out of the can. I know my father does. He loves them. And once in a while, I can as well. But they are supercharged with these Omega-3 fatty acids. And in fact you’ll find that most of the supplements, the fish oil supplements, contain the mackerel or you know, these anchovies, et cetera. And thank goodness they’re encapsulated, you don’t have to taste them. Here’s a quick little tip about that by the way. Of course supplements come in all different grades and qualities, so if you’re looking for a high grade of fish oil. The way to test to see if it is high grade is to put it in the freezer, and wait for maybe a few hours. Take it out. And if it is frozen, then that’s a low grade of fish oil. And if it’s not frozen, it is a high grade. Because you know, there is different sources of where this fish oil is coming from and of course different qualities. So that’s one way you can check yourself rather than trusting the experts, the marketers, I mean, to make sure that you’re getting the high quality Omega-3 fatty acids. Now it also comes in some plant foods as well. Flax is the alternative. Definitely fish, salmon for example, is a more direct source. There’s got to be some conversion that goes on to get these EPA and DPA. You know basically the micro parts of this Omega-3 fatty acid. But flax does a pretty good job of that if you’re not really a fish eater and you don’t want to take supplements, you can use flax seed in your cereal. You can add it to shakes. You can add it to salads. It’s really versatile that way. Give it a shot. And it also benefits brain function. We’ve been talking a lot about that. That’s because fat is necessary for our nervous system. Necessary for our nervous system to repair itself. And also for development. You know that’s why it’s really important to have these Omega-3’s for our children, especially when they’re young, when they’re infants. It’s necessary for proper development actually. And you’ll find that it’s added in to all of the baby formula. It’s mandated. It’s not even optional. Also managing inflammation as we spoke about in boosting your immune system. That’s what you will get from Omega-3, and that’s what certain types of variety of fish have for you. Now bonus round. I have another story about this one here. It’s not the body building story. You know I really learned everything I know about nutrition from the streets. You know, in the sense that I went out there and I learned the hard way. I learned through practice. And I tried this and I tried that. And I was basically an experiment. I explored just about everything. And one of the thing I explored was this MCT oil. Now it is making a, well I don’t even think it was really popular when I was taking it, but it’s definitely becoming popular now, some 20 years later. And what is, is multi chain triglycerides. It’s coming from that coconut oil that we spoke about, but it’s been modified in a sense that they’ve made sure that the chain, okay, is medium. Okay, it’s about an eight to a 10 bond chain. Okay, so we’re getting into some chemistry here, but you just need to know that it’s slightly different than the coconut oil, alright, that we’re using with our cooking in the sense that it’s really a supplement, so it’s been modified for a certain purpose. And here’s what it’s been modified for. It’s used as an alternative energy source when you’re on low carbohydrate diet. So you can imagine I was on a low carb, low calorie, low fat, low everything diet, and low energy. But here’s the thing, when I used this for one of my shows, I actually had energy that particular dieting phase. Which usually happens for about 16 weeks. So by the time we’re finished, 16 weeks, we’re just shriveled up and tired, and grumpy and weak, and we look like Adonises, okay, so we look like Greek gods, but inside we’re just hurting. This helped me out, believe it or not. It really did. And also it improved cognitive performance for me. So what happened was, I was young, I was working full time, I was in school for night school and also for summer school, okay. So working 40 hours a week, going to day school, or basically one hour during the day, then one hour or two hours at night for another course. So I was just taking so much on this summer, and I was getting ready for a body building show. I wanted to stay busy. But I had to have the best test results ever, okay, during that period. It was just unbelievable how I was retaining all of the information. It really blew my mind. Especially under those conditions which I was deprived. You know, I was dehydrated, I was avoid of a lot of things, but yet, my memory was getting better. So that’s why these MCT oils are becoming mainstream, not so much as an alternative energy source for these people that have chosen to go on low carbohydrate diets, but also for mental performance.[/otw_shortcode_content_toggle]