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Good fats don't make you fat

What kind of fat should I eat
This green smoothie is the perfect punch post-workout when the body is primed and ready to accept nutrients. When I first tried this recipe from our R.D. I kept wondering … why the chia seeds?!?!  And this lead to a deeper conversation with our R.D. on good fats!

by Stephanie Margolis, R.D.

Note: The information listed below is not specific to breastfeeding or pregnant moms. For more nutrition guidance visit our pregnancy and breastfeeding nutrition articles.

Omega-3 is an important good fat that help the body function, help keep the brain healthy, and can fight inflammation. There are many good sources of omega-3s (chia, flax) and some of the highest per serving sources are fish.

Not everyone is a fish lover so there are several foods that actually have higher amounts of omega-3s but are not foods you either eat in larger quantities or eat on a regular basis. For example, flaxseed oil and flaxseeds have the highest concentrations but it is very unlikely you are going to sit down and eat a whole tablespoon of flaxseed oil at once. This is why we add these types of things into a meal plan to help inch up your overall intake. Other foods like walnuts and fortified eggs can also help boost your omega-3s if you aren’t eating seafood. As well as vegan spirulina.

When you hear the term “good fats” used, people are typically referring to omega-3 fatty acids. These are the fats that help to fight inflammation in your body, help to control risk factors for heart disease, and have even been correlated to weight loss. But did you know that there’s another fatty acid that needs a little more attention? Yup, omega-6. Both these fatty acids are not naturally found in the body so they must be consumed or your body will become deficient. The reason you hear less about those omega-6s (refers to a whole family of polyunsaturated fatty acids) is because they are so abundant in our food supply we don’t need to try to get extra.

You can find omega-6s in poultry, eggs, nuts, cereals, wheat, whole-grain breads, and most oils. When you zoom out and start looking at all the foods out there, these omega-6s are found in so many foods that we don’t have to make the extra effort to get enough. One of the biggest sources of omega-6s in an average diet comes from soybean oil, mainly because it is used in processed foods.

Research has shown, individuals who consumed omega-6s and omega-3s in a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio, saw a decrease in diseases such as heart disease, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune disease. However, the average American diet is 15:1 or 17:1, meaning we eat way too many omega-6s and not enough omega-3s. (1)

How to Improve Your Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio

It is hard to track your omega-6s because they are hidden in so many places, but to improve your ratio you can do a few intentional things:

Increase your intake of fresh seafood — aim for 2 servings of high omega-3 fish weekly.

Decrease your intake of processed foods — make more foods from scratch.

Cut back on processed seed and vegetable oils such as canola oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, and sunflower oil instead consider using butter, coconut oil, palm oil, and olive oil (always with moderation and portion control in mind)  This includes salad dressings. Most store-bought salad dressings contain large amounts of oils.  This is why I make homemade salad dressings from our Recipe Box.

Omega-3 Green Smoothie Recipe

1 cup spinach (fresh)

1 cup water (if freezing, add in blender)

½ cup pineapple

½ cup mango

1 banana (peeled)

1 Tbsp Chia seeds

Prepare: Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until the desired consistency. Add more water if needed.

Calories 202; Carbs 51g; Fiber 8g; Sugar 33g; Protein 6g; Fat: <1g

Vegetarian: as written

Gluten free: as written

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