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What is Healthy Fat?

“Healthy fats” and “essential fats” are buzzwords in the world of diet and nutrition. But what are healthy fats? What’s the best way to get them? And how much do we need?

“Healthy fats” and “essential fats” are buzzwords in the world of diet and nutrition. But what are healthy fats? What’s the best way to get them? And how much do we need?

In order to demystify healthy fats, I spoke with Dr. Alona Pulde, one of the medical doctors who contribute to our Health Starts Here ® program. You may recognize her from the documentary Forks Over Knives, which featured Dr. Pulde and her husband and collaborator, Dr. Matt Lederman. Dr. Pulde, what are healthy fats?

Fat is one of the three primary macronutrients, along with protein and carbohydrates. Most fats can be made by our body. Essential fats are the exception and need to be obtained through our food. These include the omega-3s and omega-6s that you’ve probably heard about.

Why do we need healthy fats?

Healthy fats help support heart function, immune function, brain function, healthy skin—pretty much the whole gamut.

What should we eat to get healthy fats?

When it comes to nutrition, I shy away from isolating one single nutrient. Instead, I urge people to look for the whole package. I’m going to get my essential fatty acids from the most health-promoting foods, which means plant-based foods that are packed with other nutrients too.

Omega-6 fatty acids are very readily available in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. Omega-3 is the harder essential fatty acid to get in your diet. However, a tablespoon or two of flaxseeds or chia seeds or 1 ounce of walnuts will help you to meet your requirements.

Looking for delicious ways to cook with flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts? Check out these tasty recipes for inspiration:

Chard with Sherry Vinegar and WalnutsIf you’re searching for more healthy eating information and inspiration, visit our Healthy Eating pages. You’ll find everything from nutrition knowledge to cooking videos, meal plans and recipes.

Do you have a favorite way to eat flax seeds, chia seeds or walnuts? Please share in the comments!

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