National Healthy Fats Day Date in the current year: March 21, 2024

National Healthy Fats Day March 21 is a great day to have delicious avocado toast for breakfast and grilled salmon for lunch because it is National Healthy Fats Day. This holiday was created to educate people on the different fats in our diet and raise awareness about the importance of the so-called healthy fats.

Our bodies need three classes of macronutrients, i.e. chemical compounds which we consume in relatively large quantities, to survive: carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. They provide our bodies with energy and have other important biological functions. Fats are the “black sheep” of the macronutrient family because certain types of fat have been linked to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and some other health conditions. However, not all fats are bad for our health; in fact, we must consume certain fatty acids because they are vital for good health but our bodies are unable to synthesize them.

There are four main types of fatty acids that occur in food: saturated (stable), monounsaturated (semi-stable), polyunsaturated (unstable), and trans fats. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats are generally considered “good” or “healthy” because they are not associated with an increased disease risk. Saturated fats can increase cholesterol levels and therefore should be consumed in moderation. Finally, trans fats are considered unhealthy because their consumption increases the risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, liver dysfunction, and other health risks.

So, the three pillars of a healthy diet as far as fats are concerned are: making sure your diet includes enough sources of unsaturated fats, limiting the intake of foods that are rich in saturated fats, and eliminating all sources of trans fats.

Avoiding trans fats is relatively easy because the only sources of trans fats are processed foods made with hydrogenated oils (for example, margarine, shortenings, commercial baked goods, frozen dough, etc.) Such foods are banned or heavily regulated in most developed countries, but we still recommend that you read labels to avoid foods that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

Dietary sources of saturated fats include red meat, animal fat, dairy products (cheese, butter, cream, whole milk, ice cream), eggs, some vegetable oils like palm oil and coconut oil, and some baked goods. It’s okay to consume them as long as you do it in moderation.

Finally, the main sources of unsaturated (“healthy”) fats that your diet must include are vegetable oils, fish and seafood, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, and avocado. It is especially important to consume foods that contain omega-3 (alpha-linolenic) and omega-6 (linoleic) fatty acids because these fatty acids are essential, i.e. our bodies need them but can’t synthesize them. Fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, whereas omega-6 fatty acids are present in many vegetable oils, eggs, nuts, and poultry.

The origins of National Healthy Fats Day are unclear, but does it really matter who came up with the idea of celebrating it and when it happened? What matters is that we have a day for spreading awareness about the importance of a balanced diet that includes all types of macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, and yes, fats.

There are many ways to celebrate National Healthy Fats Day. You can learn more about healthy fats, their food sources and the ways to incorporate healthy fats into your diet, prepare some meals that are laden with healthy fats, cook with a vegetable oil that you’ve never tried before (keep in mind that some oils are better for frying while others are better used in cold dishes such as salads), get rid of all processed foods with trans fats that you may have at home, and spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #NationalHealthyFatsDay and #HealthyFatsDay.

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National Healthy Fats Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the US, healthy fats, unsaturated fats, healthy diet