Nuts and seeds are a staple in many plant-based diets, and for good reason. In addition to being a good source of protein, fiber and other nutrients, they are also rich in healthy fats.
Dietary fats are an essential part of a healthy diet as they provide energy, support the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and help maintain cell membrane integrity. However, not all fats are created equal. Some types of fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats, can increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems. On the other hand, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in nuts and seeds, can have a protective effect on health.
Monounsaturated fats, also known as "good" fats, can help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. They are found in large quantities in nuts and seeds, such as almonds, pecans and cashews.
Photo: Cashew Parmesan in Tagliatelle Bolognese
Polyunsaturated fats, which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are also considered "good" fats. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, have been shown to have a range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving heart health and supporting brain health. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Incorporating nuts and seeds into your diet is easy. They can be added to salads, cooked or eaten as a snack on their own. Just practice portion control, as nuts and seeds are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess.
So don't be afraid to add nuts and seeds to your plant-based diet. They're a tasty and nutritious way to get your fill of healthy fats!