Many people believe that you must adopt a low-fat diet to lose weight and be healthy. All fats were painted with the same brush for a long time and labeled bad, but this isn’t true. Fats can be broken up into three major groups: good, bad, and saturated. While you should avoid bad and saturated fats, you must include good fats in your diet.
Good fats, like Monounsaturated fat and Polyunsaturated fat, are both flavorful and healthy. You need healthy fats for your body to function optimally. Including good fats in your meals helps you feel full for longer, which is excellent for weight loss or maintaining weight.
Whether you prepare all your meals from scratch at home or rely on meal replacements on the go, it’s important to make sure that you include healthy fats in your diet.
Let’s look at the sources of these fats and how they contribute to better health.
Fatty fish is packed with protein and contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eat at least two servings of fatty fish a week.
Some benefits of including fatty fish in your diet are:
- It plays a role in heart health and reduces the risk of stroke, cancer, and heart disease
- Reduces blood clotting
- It may lower blood pressure and regulate the blood sugar levels
- Aids with memory and decreases the risk of dementia
- Eases inflammation in the body
- Protects against arthritis and joint pain
- It improves the mood and helps with fatigue
- It provides support during pregnancy and helps the baby’s brain to develop
Good sources of fatty fish include salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, and sardines. You can buy these fish, either fresh or canned, as both options are high in omega-3 fatty acids. There are also many ways to prepare them; you can grill, poach, saute, bake or fry and use different seasonings to keep it interesting. Serve your fish with a side of veggies and rice or bread for a completely balanced meal.
It’s always best to eat whole food, but if you’re not a fan of fish or it’s not easy to buy where you live, it’s a good idea to take an omega-3 or fish oil supplement.
Avocados have been trending for a while, and you will find the popular breakfast dish, avocado on toast, on the menu of many hip restaurants. We’re not sure where the trend started, but hopefully, this isn’t a fad because avocados are incredibly nutritious.
Unlike other fruits that are mainly carbohydrates, avocados comprise 80% fat, but the good kind!
Eating avocados is extremely good for you because they:
- Are high in fiber, magnesium, and potassium
- Contain vitamins B6, C, E, and K
- Are Good for vision
- Keep the heart healthy
- Lowers the bad cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol
- It contains folate making it an excellent food to eat during pregnancy
- Has as anti-inflammatory properties
- It contains more protein than other fruits
Apart from the trusty avocado on toast and guacamole, there are many other ways to enjoy avocados, so you won’t get bored even if you eat them every day.
One option is to enjoy them on their own. Peel and chop your avocado and then sprinkle with seasoning. You can add salt and pepper or get creative by experimenting with other spices. Try paprika or chili powder with a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for added flavor.
You can also chop them up and toss them into salads or have them with scrambled eggs.
If you’re a fan of Mediterranean cuisine, you will probably be familiar with olive oil, which is a staple in a Mediterranean diet. Not only does olive oil infuse foods with flavor, but it’s also incredibly healthy.
Include olive oil in your diet because it:
- It is high in a fatty acid called oleic acid, which is known to reduce inflammation
- It’s packed with antioxidants and has been linked to reducing the risk of chronic disease
- It contains vitamins E and K
- It’s good for the heart and may prevent stroke
- It helps to maintain a healthy cholesterol level
- Protects against type 2 Diabetes
- Reduces the risk of obesity and helps to maintain your weight
- Lowers the risk of depression
- Keeps the bones healthy
When shopping for olive oil, look for extra virgin olive oil. It may be pricier, but extra virgin olive oil is pure and not mixed with other unhealthier oils.
Since olive oil has a smoke point of 374–405°F, it’s an excellent oil to cook with, but there are other ways to include it in your diet.
Olive oil is a healthier alternative to butter, margarine, or mayonnaise. You can also use it as a base to make salad dressings or dips and use it in baking.
Nuts are another food type full of healthy fats. Since each nut type is different, they contain varying amounts of fats and nutrients, but regardless of what kind you favor, it’s beneficial to include about a serving into your diet because they:
- Aree high in protein
- Contain fiber and magnesium
- Are low carb
- Are loaded with antioxidants
- have been linked to lowering cholesterol
- May reduce the risk of type 2 Diabetes
- Reduce inflammation
- Support heart health and may reduce the risk of heart disease
There are so many types of nuts available. Incorporating different types in your diet is good for your health. Popular options include almonds, peanuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, and pistachios, to name a few.
Nuts are highly versatile – you can enjoy them as a snack or make a trail mix. Trail mixes are an easy way to get a range of healthy foods in one snack, and you can experiment with different foods to create a range of trail mixes. For example, combine peanuts, Brazil nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate nibs, or toss together macadamia nuts, almonds, coconut slices, and dried pineapple for a tropical flavor palette. The combinations are endless.
You can also toss nuts over your cereal or add a sprinkle to yogurt or ice cream. Another option is to crush them and add them to stews and sauces.
Contrary to what many folks may have believed, not all fats are bad, and you must include good fats in your diet. Healthy fats support the heart, reduce inflammation, and are packed with nutrients that the body needs to maintain good health.
- Havard.edu: Fats and Cholesterol
- Mayoclinic: Omega-3 in fish: How eating fish helps your heart
- Medicalnewstoday: Why is Avocado Good for You?
- Healthline: 11 Proven Benefits of Olive Oil
- Medicalnewstoday: What are the Health Benefits of Olive Oil?
- BBCfood: Top 5 Health Benefits of Nuts
- Healthline: 8 Benefits of Nuts
- Self: 25 Healthy High-Fat Foods to Keep You Full and Satisfied
- Helpguide: Choosing Healthy Fats