Better health and glowing skin start with what you eat. In this excerpt from 72 Reasons To Be Vegan, New York Times best-selling authors Kathy Freston and Gene Stone highlight the plant-based fats to add to your diet to jumpstart a healthier complexion.
Fat is important
It helps with cell growth, protecting your organs, making hormones, and even keeping you warm. But not all fats are created equal.
Healthy fats come from nuts, seeds and avocados
Not from marbled steak, pork ribs, or chicken fingers. Contrary to the “low-fat” diet fad of the 1990s, we do need fat in our diets, and quite a bit: up to 30 percent of our daily calories. Fat is important for cell growth, protecting your organs, making hormones and even keeping you warm.
But all fats are not created equal. Animal fat contains mostly saturated and trans fat, the types that jack up your “L for lethal” LDL cholesterol and cause plaque to accumulate in, harden, and then block your arteries so blood can’t flow freely. That's called atherosclerosis, and it's long been linked to cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. Too much saturated fat can also lead to insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes.
The American Heart Association recommends replacing most saturated fat–like that in butter and bacon–with healthier mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Where do you get that? Plant foods. They provide essential fatty acids, so called because your body can't make them, and they're vital for things like energy storage and absorbing vitamins. Your best sources of healthy fats are nuts, seeds, avocados (and guacamole!), olives, certain cold-pressed vegetable oils, such as extra-virgin olive oil and flaxseed, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and don't forget peanut butter!
All of these are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are great for your brain, your immune system, and your blood pressure. And they're delicious and filling–and easy to snack on and toss into salads and put on sandwiches. Don't go too bonkers on the oils though–they are high in calories.
Excerpt from 72 Reasons To Be Vegan, Gene Stone, Kathy Freston (Workman Publishing)