In a balanced diet, fats also have a place in their fair proportion, but not all are the same or are not equally beneficial. If you exercise, discover the foods that contain more healthy fats and do not hesitate to incorporate them into your menus.
Along with carbohydrates and protein, fats are the third major group of macronutrients that the body needs to function properly and stay healthy. The fat must be present in the diet of anyone, athletes included, because they are one of the main sources from which to obtain the energy needed for life and for the exercise and because they are necessary for the synthesis of fat – soluble vitamins.
Unsaturated fats are the most beneficial, because they contain essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 that, in addition to providing energy, take care of the cardiovascular system and help control cholesterol levels. Some foods are rich in these healthy fats, ideal for athletes, so if you do intense physical activity, they cannot be missing from your diet.
Foods Highest in Healthy Fats
Forget about “trans” fats, present above all in industrial pastries and other processed products, and take note of the foods high in healthy fats that are ideal for athletes, because they will provide you with all the quick energy before training, the energy you need by contributing to take care of your joints and your circulatory system.
1. Blue fish
Salmon, tuna, sardines, herring. The presence of essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 is what means that fish cannot be missing from an athlete’s menu at least 3 times a week, in addition to being foods rich in protein for athletes . Also white fish (hake, sole, monkfish …) provides essential Omega acids, although in lesser amounts. It is, in any case, one of the foods richest in unsaturated fats that protect the heart, limiting the presence of “bad” cholesterol and promoting recovery after exercise.
Nuts, in general, are a small treasure due to their high content of nutrients: vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants and they are also rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, that is, “the good ones”. Of all of them, walnuts are the ones that provide the healthiest fatty acids for athletes, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6, can contribute to the diet.
3. Olive oil
The beneficial properties of olive oil have earned it the qualification of “liquid gold”. The high content of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant and the presence of healthy fats, especially oleic acid, make it the best dressing in many healthy and balanced recipes.
Vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, fiber and for all this it was not enough to consider it a super food , it also contains unsaturated fatty acids in a high proportion, about 12 grams per 100 grams.
5. Chia seeds
Until a few years ago it was a little known food, but its nutritional value has made it one of the ingredients of a balanced diet. Although it may not seem like it, chia seeds are composed of more than 30% of healthy fats that are very beneficial for athletes. Most of them are unsaturated, highlighting linoleic acid and Omega 3. They are, therefore, a magnificent source of energy, ideal for the development of intense physical activity, which also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Although for decades it was considered unhealthy due to its cholesterol content (it has been shown that the cholesterol in eggs does not have to raise the blood content), today the egg occupies its rightful place as a complete food, with high nutritional value, capable of providing not only a large amount of protein of optimal quality, but also an excellent proportion of beneficial lipids in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Including whole eggs, with their yolk and egg white in the diet of an athlete , is a guarantee of incorporating into the diet all the essential amino acids that the body needs and also healthy fats that provide the extra energy that sports activity requires.
Always remember to consult your doubts with a doctor or nutritionist before making any change in your diet as an athlete.