Thanks to the 80’s, the low-fat diet craze has created a diet-culture that demonizes dietary fat. Although, dietary fats are making a come back and receiving some of the respect they deserve, there are still many people who experience anxiety, guilt, and fear if they consume high-fat foods. Additionally, some fats have been given the label of being bad for us, while other fats have been given the label good. Embrace dietary fats for improved athletic performance.

By now, you know I want us to step away from labeling foods as good and bad. The black and white mindset of foods being either good or bad can contribute to disordered eating, eating disorders, and may lead to poor athletic performance. Nutrients work together. So it’s important to have a variety of foods in our diet.

This isn’t a post that goes into the details of the different types of fat. If you’re interested in learning a little more about the science of fat, check out this past blog post.

Here are three reasons why eating dietary fats can help improve your athletic performance. Plus, a sweet recipe for guacamole.

 

guacamole, healthy fats

Fat helps your body absorb vitamins.

Fats play an important role in the body’s ability to absorb vitamins. In fact, there are four vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K that are called fat-soluble vitamins because the body needs fat to absorb them. So for example, if you eat a little avocado with your carrots, the fat from the avocado helps the body absorb the vitamin A from the carrots.

When you’re focused on athletic performance, you may think decreasing your fat intake can help your performance. But decreasing your fat intake too much can also decrease how vitamins are being absorbed. And since vitamins play a role in recovery, energy levels, bone health, metabolism, and immunity, decreasing vitamin availability can negatively impact your athletic performance.

Fat can boost your mood.

If you are feeling depressed, anxious, mentally-fatigued, you might not be getting enough fat in your diet. Your brain is about 60% fat! So not getting enough dietary fat can impact how your brain is functioning and again negatively impact your athletic performance.  Van Oudenhove et al presented research that found when individuals were sad they were also hungrier. They saw that when people were sad and were given fat, they were less hungry than sad people who got salty water. In this study, the participants were fed via feeding tube so any change in hunger wasn’t happening because of the taste of fat but something that occurs biologically. We need to consume fat to support brain health.

Fat can help support stronger bones.

Fats are essential to building healthy strong bones. Saturated fats and essential fatty acids omega-3 fatty acids help build strong bones. They help boost calcium absorption and increase calcium deposition in the bone. The fatty acids also help you absorb vitamin D, which is essential to building a collagen in the bone. Fatty acids can help build strong bones. They can also help protect against bone loss during the aging process.

Poor bone health can lead to stress fractures. According to an update by Chen, Tenforde, and Fredericson, stress fractures account for up to 20% of all injuries treated in sports medicine clinics. Lower dietary intake of dairy products, which contains fatty acids, has been shown to be associated with an increased risk for stress fractures. Enjoying dietary fats can help improve bone health, decreasing risk of a bone injury.

What’s your favorite fat from a fruit?

Despite popular low-fat diets, our country loves avocados. According to the Hass Avocado Board, sales of this fruit (yes, avocados are a fruit), has grown for the past 15 years.

avocados eaten

 

Dietary Fats in Strawberry Mango Guacamole

Avocados are a good source of fat. One cup of avocado provides about 20 to 25 grams of total fat. And thanks to their fat content, your body can more easily absorb carotenoids that other foods contain. Like in this mango. Mangos are an excellent source of vitamin A. And vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin so it is more easily absorbed when eaten with a little fat.

We topped this guacamole onto fish tacos. Talk about a healthy dose of dietary fats. So embrace those dietary fats!

 

Print Recipe
Strawberry-Mango Guacamole
If you want to prepare this recipe in advance of mealtime, combine all of the ingredients except the avocado. Just before serving, gently fold in the avocado. This recipe was modified from the "Oh, She Glows" recipe book.
Course Dinner, Snack
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Course Dinner, Snack
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, gently mash the avocado, leaving some chunks for texture.
  2. Fold in the chopped mango, strawberries, onion, and cilantro.
  3. Add in lime juice and salt to taste.
  4. Serve with you favorite corn chips or on tacos.
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