You might have heard that eating fats is the worst idea for weight loss, but science says that healthy fatty acids sources are essential for weight loss and normal bodily functions. From walnuts and nut butters to coconut and flaxseeds, here are all the best sources of healthy fatty acids you should include in your diet.
The most simplistic understanding of weight loss diets in this world tells us that fats are bad. But are they really? Science says that this simplistic understanding of labelling all fats as bad for weight loss needs to change. In fact, without the inclusion of healthy fatty acids in your diet, neither weight loss nor good health will be possible. So, adding sources of healthy fatty acids for weight loss diet is essential.
In case you didn’t know, healthy fatty acids, also known as good fats or unsaturated fats, are a type of dietary fat that is beneficial to our health when consumed in appropriate amounts. They are categorized into two main types: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are found in plant-based oils, nuts, and seeds. They are known for their ability to improve heart health by reducing bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) levels.
Polyunsaturated fats are also found in plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish. They are essential fats, meaning that our bodies cannot produce them, so we need to obtain them through our diet. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 fatty acids, which play crucial roles in brain function and heart health, and omega-6 fatty acids, which help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system.
How do these healthy fatty acids help with weight loss and other essential functions? Healthy fatty acids provide energy, support cell growth, protect organs, aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, and K), and help regulate inflammation in the body. They are an important component of a balanced diet and should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy eating plan. And when it comes to weight loss, your diet must include a number of healthy fatty acids so that your body stays fit and functional while on this journey.
Wondering which are the best sources of healthy fatty acids to add to your diet? Here is a list you can refer to for dietary additions.
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From salmon to sardines, numerous studies have highlighted the potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish for weight management. For instance, a study published in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrated that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil supplementation resulted in greater weight loss and improved body composition compared to a control group.
A part of the Mediterannean diet, olive oil is great for weight loss. A randomized controlled trial published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil resulted in significant weight loss and reduced waist circumference compared to a low-fat diet among older individuals at high cardiovascular risk.
Every part of the coconut is packed with healthy fatty acids, but the oil especially so. While evidence regarding the direct impact of coconut oil on weight loss is limited, a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics compared the effects of coconut oil and soybean oil on weight loss and found that both oils had similar effects, suggesting that moderate coconut oil consumption can be included as part of a balanced diet.
Whether made of almonds, peanuts or any other nut, all nut butters are packed with healthy fatty acids. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that participants who consumed peanut butter as part of a weight loss diet experienced better weight management and greater improvements in body composition compared to those who did not consume peanut butter.
Chia seeds are rich in fiber and healthy fats, so adding them to your weight loss diet is essential. A study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that incorporating chia seeds into a weight loss diet led to improvements in body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and other cardiometabolic risk factors.
Flaxseeds are another source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and are found extensively in India. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that flaxseed supplementation resulted in reduced body weight and waist circumference in overweight and obese individuals.
Here’s more reason to eat walnuts every day. A study published in the journal Nutrients demonstrated that incorporating walnuts into a weight loss diet improved body composition, reduced waist circumference, and enhanced satiety in overweight and obese individuals.
Research suggests that dark chocolate consumption in moderation may have positive effects on weight management. A study published in the International Archives of Medicine found that dark chocolate consumption was associated with lower body mass index and central adiposity in a large cohort of adults.