Good Plant Fats

There are some excellent sources of fat in plants.  Nuts are your friend, assuming you’re not allergic to one like the ubiquitous peanut.  Actually peanuts are less good than some other nuts anyway, albeit way better than sugar.  In fact, nuts made the New England Journal of Medicine– more nuts, less heart disease and cancer.  That longitudinal study (following a set of people over time) found that the more nuts a person ate, the less likely they were to die prematurely of heart disease or cancer.  This makes sense because the more nuts they were eating, the more fat they’re getting, and the less sugar/carbohydrates they’re probably ingesting.  They said the effect occurred regardless of the kind of nuts people ate.  I had already been bringing bags of peanuts to my office to provide a snack for my group that didn’t involve sugar bombs.  This reinforces that strategy since I like my co-workers.

Volek and Phinney say that in their experiments with athletic performance gains from high fat diets, the kind of fat does matter.  They say that we eat too much omega-6 fats relative to omega-3s.  Unfortunately, peanuts are high in omega-6.  Other nuts like cashews and almonds are better.  Macadamia nuts are good, although their fat is a bit unusual.  All those choices are quite a bit more expensive than peanuts, but my appreciation of my co-workers has its limits.

The fabled Mediterranean Diet doesn’t advocate a high enough proportion of fats, and low enough carbs, but does promote healthy amounts of olives, olive oil, and nuts.  Olive oil is a decent fat.  Avocados are a high fat fruit, in contrast to the high sugar fruits like oranges and apples.  Coconut oil is a really good fat, one that people have survived on for thousands of years.  It’s showing up in stores a lot lately.

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