This article was written by Julia Westbrook and provided by our partners at Rodale News.
It’s been 20 years since the low-fat craze of the 1990’s started spreading the myth that eating fat will make you fat. And while many people have come around to the truth that fats can be good, a recent report from the American Heart Association found that most Americans haven’t found the good-fat sweet spot.
Surveying 12,000 adults, they found that, thankfully, dangerous trans fat intake has dropped over the last 30 years by more than 30 percent. Trans fats are primarily found in fast food and junk food.
Yet while bad-fat intake has gone down, we’re still lacking in the good-fat department, namely omega-3’s. Over the same time period, omega-3 fatty acid consumption remained flat.
“There’s a downward trend in trans and saturated fat intake levels, but it’s clear that we still have room for improvement,” says lead study author Mary Ann Honors, Ph.D., an epidemiology researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis.
“You can have your pick of thousands of academic papers on such topics as the nutritional value of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6’s,” says Franklin Becker, author of Good Fat Cooking, “both of which should be included in any healthy diet—but the bottom line is, unsaturated fats from plants and seafood won’t clog your arteries.”
Becker recommends these three foods as natural sources of omega-3’s.
“Some of my favorite fish, such as tuna, salmon, the often-overlooked mackerel, and the lowly-but-delicious sardine are great sources of omega-3’s,” says Becker. Of course, he stresses that sustainability is an important factor to consider when picking your fish. “It is well known that we have been overexploiting our ocean resources, endangering many species,” says Becker. “Always double check that the fish you plan on eating is sustainably harvested.”
“Hemp milk, available in many health-food stores, is very digestible and contains a healthy balance of omega-6’s and omega-3’s,” says Becker.
This pourable yogurt has a consistency similar to a creamy dressing, says Becker. He recommends blending this Middle Eastern native with aromatic spices like cumin and coriander and using it over a beet salad. (Japanese researchers also identified kefir as a superfood for beautiful skin.)
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