The Healthiest Plant-based Fats For Vegans
Fat does not always have to be unhealthy for you. They are essential to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Many types of fats and fatty acids are required by our body to perform its daily tasks. For a vegan, consuming fat can be a debilitating thought, but not anymore! Read ahead to find out how you can consume plant-based fats and maintain optimal body function.
Is Fat Good for your Health?
Although often associated with weight gain and health problems, if consumed in the right quantity and form, good fats can boost many essential mechanisms in the body. These include:
- Absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin A, D, E, and K
- Eliminating metabolic waste from cells
- Making up a large percent of the composition of cell membranes
- Promoting regular bowel movements
- Helping blood clotting mechanism
- Regulating blood pressure
- Regulating hormone levels
How much Fat is Healthy Fat?
According to health practitioners and nutritionists, the daily healthy fat intake of an average adult should not exceed 33% of their total food energy intake. Out of the 33%, saturated fats should not be more than 11% of the diet. The maximum daily fat intake is recommended to fall around 70g for women and 95g for men.
It is common knowledge that vegans have to eliminate many factors from their diet, such as meat, dairy, fish, and eggs. However, the fat content provided by these elements needs to be compensated for in some way. Healthy vegan fats are found in a plethora of delicious treats.
Healthiest Vegan Sources of Fat
Consuming vegan sources of fat means you have to worry less about unhealthy fat and bad cholesterol. Let us have a look at the vegan fats and ways to incorporate them into your favorite recipes.
Nuts generally have the highest compositions of good fats. However, almonds are the best choice among them for consuming plant-based fats. They are higher in protein and healthy fat content as compared to cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, and peanuts. One serving of almonds approximately has 14 grams of fats, of which 9 grams are healthy, monounsaturated fats.
You can incorporate them in your breakfast vegan yogurt for a crunch element; put them in your smoothie, salads, or pasta dishes. You can also make homemade almond milk and consume the natural richness of these nuts in a liquid form.
2. Flax Seeds
According to nutritionists, one tablespoon of flax seeds contains 1.8 grams of omega 3 fatty acids. This is an average daily requirement of omega 3 fatty acid, available in one portion of flax seeds. Seeds should be an important component of vegan and non-vegan diets since they contain essential fats (fats that the body cannot produce on its own.)
You can eat one tablespoon of chia seeds every morning before breakfast. However, we understand that consuming raw chia seeds is not exactly appetizing. This is why we suggest blending them up with your favorite smoothie, adding them to homemade granola, or simply sprinkling them onto your morning oats or vegan yogurt bowls for an extra crunch.
This fruit should be on the top of your grocery list if you are looking for healthy plant-based fats. This creamy, tender, and versatile fruit contains a maximum portion of unsaturated good fat. One medium-sized avocado provides you with an average of 20 grams of your daily fat requirement. Other than being a great source of vegan fats, they contain large quantities of Vitamin K, which work alongside healthy fat to lower blood pressure.
Top your wholegrain toast with avocado and chili flakes and enjoy a healthy breakfast. You could also add avocado to your daily smoothie or serve pureed avocado as a dip for evening snacks or sandwich wraps.
One of the go-to healthy fat options for vegans is soy-based foods. Aside from being high in omega-3 fatty acids, soybeans are high in vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B and calcium.
To reap the nutritional benefits of soybeans, buy soymilk from the store or make your own at home! This cheap food element can also be found in tofu. Substitute meat for tofu in your favorite savory dishes such as south-Asian curries, fried rice, salad bowls, etc. It is a bonus that all soy-based products contain the same value and amount of nutrition as found in soybeans, so you can consume whichever one seems more appetizing to you!
5. Chia Seeds
Among all seeds, chia seeds hold the most quantity of good fat. A 2-tablespoon serving of chia seeds contains approximately 8.5 grams of fat, most of which are omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds prove to be a great substitute for fish in a vegan plant-based fat diet.
You can similarly use them as you would use flax seeds. Add flax seeds or chia seeds to your smoothies alternatively and enjoy being healthy.
For vegans, this paste made by simply blending sesame seeds is a valuable source of good fat, iron, and calcium. Sesame seeds help raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol due to their high composition of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Just one tablespoon of tahini provides more than 10% of the daily value of fats and nutrients.
The simplest and easiest ways to add tahini to your diet is to use it as your lunch salad dressing, or to a bowl of hummus alongside your favorite whole-wheat bread.
Although this fruit contains a maximum amount of saturated fats and many people often consider it unhealthy, this is not the case. The saturated fatty acids found in coconut are easily broken down in the liver, and hence, prove to be a valuable source of vegan fats.
Research suggests that the benefits of coconut and coconut oil extend beyond being a supply of healthy fats. It helps to curb hunger, reduce calorie consumption, and eventually weight loss.
You can consume coconut in various forms. From coconut milk to flakes to coconut meat, the vegan options are numerous. Add coconut oil as a salad dressing, or add coconut cream to your curries for the patent mildly sweet and nutty flavor.
8. Dark Chocolate
Contrary to milk chocolate, dark chocolate is a rich source of plant-based fat. Moreover, they are rich in antioxidants, iron, manganese, and magnesium. A 30g bar of dark chocolate contains about 11 grams of good fat. The fats found in dark chocolate are similar to those found in olive oil, which is another healthy source of vegan fat.
While animal fats are associated with weight gain and other health-compromising issues, vegans do not have to worry about all that with their endless options of plant-based fats. Adding any of the foods mentioned above in our comprehensive list for healthiest plant-based vegan fats into your diet will help you get the adequate amount of fats your body needs. Use our suggested methods of incorporating good fats in your vegan diet and spend a healthy, long life.