Healthy fats are an essential part of a nourishing diet that help your body absorb vitamins and supply your body with usable energy. Most of us know that there are healthy fats and not-so-healthy fats – but how can you tell the difference? We’ll help you figure out which Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs) you can feel comfortable incorporating into your diet.
What is a PUFA?
There are a few main types of fat:
- Saturated fatty acids
- Monounsaturated fatty acids
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids
PUFAs, when looked at chemically, are fat molecules that have multiple unsaturated carbon bonds in the molecule, also known as double bonds. Examples of foods containing PUFAs include olive oil, corn, and sunflower seeds.
Omega-3 vs. Omega-6
To understand PUFAs, you have to understand Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats.
Omega-3: Found in fish, seafood, and plant sources
Omega-6: Found in industrial oils such as vegetable and olive oil
When there’s an imbalance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, it negatively affects your health. Just like consuming too many overall PUFAs can be inflammatory, consuming too many omega-6 fats is too. Most Americans consume too many overall PUFAs and not enough omega-3s. When you reduce the amount of omega-6 fats you consume, you reduce inflammatory oxidative damage. The key here is to make sure that you have a healthy ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats – it should fall roughly between 4:1 and 1:1, unlike many modern diets that are closer to 10:1.
Foods Rich in PUFAs
Just because food is higher in PUFAs doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy! But instead of incorporating highly processed, PUFA-rich oils like corn oil, soybean oil, safflower or sunflower oil, or canola oil, opt for whole food sources instead (or healthier oils like olive oil). Unlike processed vegetable oils, these whole foods sources of PUFAs are exactly as nature intended. And remember, we want to have some omega-6 fats in our diets! Some examples of healthy PUFAs you can incorporate include:
- Flax seeds
- Flax oil
- Olive oil
Snap Kitchen has a wide variety of chef-prepared meals that have the healthy fats you need to thrive – no prep and no cleanup – all you need to do is enjoy! What Snap meal will you be trying next?