If you’re like most people, you’ve been trained to see fat as the enemy when it comes to losing weight, staying healthy, and getting in shape. For that reason, it’s probably confusing when a health or nutrition authority starts promoting foods high in “healthy fats.” Isn’t fat bad for you?
The thing is, not all fats are created equally. Foods high in certain types of fat—like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated—aren’t just good for you. They’re essential parts of a health-conscious diet as they reduce LDL cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. The following are just a few examples of food that deserves a permanent place in your diet.
A medium-sized avocado contains around 23 grams of fat, on average. However, it’s primarily healthful monounsaturated fat. Avocados are also packed with fiber and lutein, an antioxidant that promotes healthy vision. Plus, avocado is delicious and makes a great substitute for foods high in unhealthy fat, like butter, mayo, or sour cream.
Olives and olive oils are packed with beneficial nutrients, like hydroxytyrosol, a phytonutrient that’s been linked to cancer prevention for many years now. There’s also some evidence that this nutrient helps reduce bone loss and assists the body in managing allergic reactions. Try replacing less healthful snacks from the office vending machine in favor of 5-10 tasty olives instead.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been considered an important part of a heart-healthy diet for years now, and salmon is loaded with this vital nutrient. Plus, it’s a delicious source of protein with a meaty texture that’s just as satisfying as beef or pork. Other oily fish like trout, mackerel, and sardines contain the same benefits. Try reaching for a salmon wrap or salad as a heart-smart way to recover from a strength training workout.
4. Whole Eggs
Eggs are one of the best sources of protein out there, so they deserve a spot in your regular menu rotation. Don’t shun those sunny yellow yolks, either! They’re lower in saturated fat than you think they are, as well as packed with healthy unsaturated fat. Starting your day with a veggie-packed omelet will give you plenty of energy for your busy morning!
5. Peanut Butter
Along with other nut butters, peanut butter is a satisfying, nutrient-rich food that can be enjoyed any time of the day. It’s rich in protein and good fats. Add a spoonful to your morning smoothie or spread some on whole grain toast for a delicious and satisfying lunch. Just make sure to keep your portions under control by limiting yourself to two tablespoons for a meal and one tablespoon for a snack.
6. Full-Fat Yogurt
If you’re like most health-conscious people, you make it a point to eat plenty of yogurt for the probiotics, as well as the excellent calcium boost. Next time you stock up, go ahead and reach for the full-fat version instead of the “light” option to increase your consumption of healthy fats. Skip the fruit-flavored yogurts, though, as they can be packed with sugar.
Looking for a great way to get more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, but not a big fan of fish? You’ll be happy to know that walnuts are one of the best sources of omega-3s. Regular consumption of walnuts has also been linked to lower cholesterol levels andimproved blood vessel function. They can help reduce your likelihood of developing clots, as well.
8. Dark Chocolate
Your favorite treat is packed with not only healthy fats, but it contains essential nutrients like vitamins A, B, and E. It’s got calcium, potassium, iron, fiber, and magnesium, as well. Just stick with dark chocolate and aim for a total cocoa content of around 70%.
Soybeans are excellent sources of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for fiber and plant-based protein. Plus, they’re filling, versatile, and delicious! Try reaching for some boiled, salted edamame the next time you get the munchies at the offic or puree them into an amazing hummus alternative to energize yourself after cardio class. You’ll love the way they put the pep back into your step, as well as keep you full and satisfied!