Amazing strides have been taken in the last 30 years when it comes to our perception of the macromolecule, fat. The general consensus 30 years ago was that eating fat made you fat, which seems like a logical assumption. Furthermore, diets high in fat were being found to contribute to all kinds of heart problems. Food purveyors everywhere began offering low-fat fare, as fat became demonized by the health conscious. For years, this was the paradigm in health.
The demonization of fat put a lot of foods we now consider healthy (and beneficial for the cardiovascular system) on the taboo list – nuts, olive oil, avocados, coconut oil to name a few. People were encouraged to eat a diet higher in carbohydrates. That plan failed for most as a strategy to keep a healthy weight, and many people found it difficult to lose weight while maintaining a high-carb, low-fat diet.
Years later, carb slashing diets would become the go-to strategy for weight loss and all the subsequent benefits associated with getting body weight to proper levels. In the place of all those carbs we were eating, we began eating more fat in the diet. Ironically, it worked! While eating a diet higher in protein and fat, people lost more weight.
Subsequently, quite a bit of research has been done on the benefits of certain kinds of fat. Like everything relating health, the nature of fat is more nuanced than just all is good or all is bad. Certain fats, such as hydrogenated oils and trans fats, have been irrefutably shown to contribute to poor health. Obviously eating a diet high in these sorts of fats is still considered terrible in regards to your health. However, fats such as mono-unsaturated fat have shown tremendous benefit in regards to one's health.
Healthy fats are typically assumed to be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are typically liquid at room temperature.
So what are these healthy fats? And what do they do?
Research has shown that they can improve cholesterol levels (raise HDL while lowering LDL), mitigate the risk of diabetes, and improve cardiovascular health. They also promote a healthy immune system, aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals, and have been shown to relieve mild depression and/or aid in boosting mood. And to think – foods high in these good fats were at one time considered off-limits for the healthy minded!
Furthermore, healthy fats such as Omega 3 fats have some anti-fungal activity. This makes them especially benificial on the Kaufmann Diet. (Not all foods with good fats are necessarily on the Kaufmann Diet - peanuts and pistachios are two examples of foods with good fats that are off limits.)
What are some good sources for these healthy fats?
Foods rich in healthy fats include nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, cashews and almonds), avocados, olives, olive oil, cold water fish (i.e., salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.), sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Foods such as nut butters and oils often contain high levels of these same good fats. All of these foods are included on the Kaufmann Diet; be sure to add these foods and others containing healthy fats into your diet to take advantage of all the benefits inherent therein!