Another nutrient that deserves mention is the addition of healthy fats into your plant-based diet. When looking for fats that support your health it is important to choose from those that do not raise your cholesterol levels and risk of certain diseases.
These good fats are classified as unsaturated fats as opposed to saturated fats or trans-fats. Unsaturated fats are encouraged as part of a healthy diet as they can not only improve blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease but can also benefitinsulin levels and control blood sugar.
People on a plant-based diet can choose healthy fats from foods like avocados, olives, and nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and cashews among others. In addition, seeds like sunflower, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds are also good sources. Natural peanut butter varieties that contain only peanuts and salt are also another option for healthy fats. Other healthy nut butters include butters made from almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pecans.
Traditional, cold-pressed oils like extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil are rich in monounsaturated fats and have been in use for many years. These oils are prepared without the use of chemicals and heat to extract the oil from the nuts or seeds. Oils are sometimes not included in the plant-based diet, but if you want to add oil, then it is best to consider these safer options.
On the other hand, industrially manufactured oils are usually prepared from genetically modified crops and despite being labelled monounsaturated fats may not deliver all the promised health benefits.
For making the most of healthy fats on your plant-based diet, use cold pressed extra virgin olive oil to dress salads, while staying away from commercially prepared salad dressings that often contain trans-fats and are high in calories.
Avocados make for a filling and satisfying meal when added into salads, sandwiches or served as guacamole. Nuts can be enjoyed as a snack, be used in vegetable dishes or sprinkled onto salads to get a good supply of unsaturated fats. Likewise, olives may also be enjoyed for a low-calorie snack when eaten on their own or added into pasta dishes, dipping, and appetizers or as tapenade.
Start choosing healthier fats today!