Luckily, fat is no longer considered the enemy. After years of research and evidence, health recommendations and thinking have entirely changed regarding this macronutrient. It is important to eat some healthy fats for our heart and overall health.
With all the saturated, unsaturated, and poly-mono-trans-lipid-dietary-fatty acids, it can be challenging to know which types of fat you should be trying to eat more of and which you should be doing your best to avoid.
Here are some of the most nutrient-dense healthy fats you can put on your plate:
If any food deserves super status, it’s the humble avocado. They contain fiber, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C. They’re also about 80 percent healthy fat, mono oleic acid – the good stuff found in olive oil.
Research suggests a diet rich in avocado significantly decreased bad LDL cholesterol levels. Therefore, it recommends subbing dietary fats with avocado for optimal health.
Some of you may be skeptical to eat nuts when first trying to lose weight because they are energy-dense, but they’re certainly worth every calorie.
This study found eating nuts can lower the risk of heart disease and hypertension. While this review also found that eating nutrient-rich nuts can have cardiovascular advantages and metabolic benefits.
Almonds have been shown to benefit body weight, blood sugar, inflammation, and oxidative stress. At the same time, pistachios boost heart-healthy blood lipid profiles.
Extra virgin olive oil has been a source of healthy fat for humans for thousands of years. In addition, the consumption of olive oil within the Mediterranean diet can be a reason behind the diet’s cardiovascular benefits.
It’s also great for your skin! If the taste of olive oil isn’t your jam, avocado oil has a similar monounsaturated fat content. Sesame and peanut oils are also excellent sources of unsaturated fats.
Chia and Flax Seeds
Chia seeds are an excellent vegan source of essential omega-three fatty acids, calcium, fiber, antioxidants, and protein. In addition, flax seeds are a source of crucial alpha-linolenic acid (AHA), heart-healthy lignans, and fiber.
In addition, they can positively affect blood pressure. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of minerals such as magnesium and zinc.
Eggs have slowly but surely made their way back to the “healthy list” after evidence emerged that dietary cholesterol has little impact on harmful cholesterol levels in the body. As a result, using only egg whites has become a famous dieting trick.
Unfortunately, it involves cutting out the most nutritious part of the egg: the yolk. Egg yolks are a great source of B vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and omega-3s.
Salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and even oysters are great ways to get protein and healthy fats such as essential Omega 3 fatty acids.
Many studies have found that people who regularly eat fish have a lower risk of cerebrovascular disease that leads to stroke. Adequate intake of marine Omega-3s has also been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular complications like heart failure.
Fatty fish can benefit brain health. Tuna and swordfish have some of the highest levels of Omega-3s of fish species.
For the longest time, many thought coconuts were unhealthy because of their high saturated fat content. But current thinking on saturated fat intake has begun to change.
Coconuts contain mostly MCTs: medium-chain triglycerides. This study found that populations who eat a diet high in saturated fat from coconuts but low in sugar and cholesterol had deficient levels of heart disease.
Therefore, we think the focus should be on eating more unsaturated fats in the diet, but MCTs from coconut products can be a healthier source of fat.
Although dairy yogurt mainly contains saturated fat, which isn’t essential for human health, it can also be a great source of probiotics, protein, calcium, and some B vitamins.
Probiotics are currently in fashion, and with good reason. They’ve helped improve immunity. They may improve lactose digestion. They’ve even been shown to benefit symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. If dairy’s not your thing, I’ve had some delicious coconut milk yogurt in my time.
Chocolate has been shown to provide some cardiovascular benefits. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t mean you can down the nearest family block of dairy milk.
On the other hand, a good quality bar of dark chocolate can be a great source of healthy fats, fiber, iron, magnesium, and antioxidants such as polyphenols and flavanols.
Aim for dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa and minimal added sugar. Bonus points if it’s fair trade!
Although butter is almost all saturated fat which is not essential for health, it’s not nearly as bad as some butter substitutes out there. Grass-fed butter is far better for your health than hydrogenated oils that are highly processed, usually containing additives and even trans fats.
This review found a relatively small association between butter consumption and mortality, heart disease, and diabetes.
Although the fats in mozzarella cheese aren’t going to benefit you as much as an avocado, it’s a great way to get your cheese fix if you’re trying to lighten up a meal. It’s also a good source of calcium, score!
Healthy fats are beneficial for overall health. Always make sure to add them to your daily diet regime.