If you’ve been scared to eat much fat because you think it’s unhealthy, it’s time to get your head around which fats are actually bad for you. It’s true that some fats are definitely best kept to an absolute minimum (trans fats are a big culprit here!) but there are others that are really important for staying healthy. These good fats can play lots of roles in your body, including keeping your heart and brain healthy, boosting your immunity, balancing hormones, stabilizing your metabolism and keeping inflammation to a minimum.
So now you know how important certain fats are for your body, let’s talk about how you can get more of them in your diet. Stock up on these foods to make sure you get plenty of healthy fats!
Eating fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines two to three times per week helps you to get a good boost of omega 3 fatty acids. If you go for tuna, just be aware of the mercury content if you eat it a lot.
Eggs are hugely nutritious and are great for keeping you feeling full thanks to their protein content. For years, we were told that eating eggs would raise “bad” LDL cholesterol levels but we know now that this isn’t true. It’s actually the opposite: people who eat plenty of eggs often have lower cholesterol. As an added bonus, it also helps to keep your heart healthy. Wherever possible, try to make sure that you’re eating eggs that are particularly rich in omega 3 so that you get the most benefits.
Avocado is a great way to get more monounsaturated fats into your diet. These are a double whammy for heart health as they’re known to raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and at the same time, they also help to lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Healthy fats aren’t the only thing you’ll get from them though; they’re incredibly nutritious and give you a good range of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Guacamole is a delicious way to get more avocado in your life. Not a fan? You can also drizzle avocado oil on salads or even cook with it.
There’s a big reason why olive oil is such a staple of the Mediterranean diet and this is mostly down to the healthy fats. It is another fantastic source of the same kind of monounsaturated fats that you’ll find in avocado. Studies have shown that it can make you less likely to get heart disease or have a heart attack, especially when it’s used as part of the Mediterranean diet.
It’s a bit more expensive but extra virgin olive oil is the best bet as other types of olive oil won’t bring quite the same health benefits. Drizzle it on salads or breads for an easy way to use more of it.
A lot of people don’t feel comfortable using coconut oil because of its saturated fat content but it’s actually super healthy and increases levels of “good” cholesterol. Plus, it’s packed full of antioxidants. You can use it in cooking or baking but the fairly strong taste can take some getting used to at first! Use a bit less if you find it overpowering.
Nuts and seeds
The good fats found in nuts and seeds can help to lower LDL cholesterol so they’re a great choice for super healthy snacks. Stick to a small handful though – these fats may be of the good variety, but you still don’t want to go overboard with them! They’re also a good source of other nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium and selenium. If you don’t want to snack on them, try adding them to baking or using them in salads and smoothies.
You probably won’t want to eat red meat like beef too many times in the average week but the grass fed varieties are another good source of omega 3. An added bonus with meat from grass fed animals is the much lower risk of consuming hormones and antibiotics compared to their grain fed counterparts.
Full Fat Dairy
If you tend to stick solely to low fat dairy, you’re missing a trick when it comes to healthy fats. Full fat dairy is full of fats that you won’t find in lower fat versions and this can have some surprising benefits for your health. Full fat dairy can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity – much more than low fat!
Here is a source of healthy fat that you’re sure to love! Dark chocolate ticks two big boxes from a health perspective: antioxidants and healthy fats. You don’t want just any type of dark chocolate though – go for something with at least 70% cacao. If you can find it, 85% cacao is even better. The more cacao, the more benefits you’ll get.
As always, be sure to eat a balanced diet so that you can ensure you are eating the rainbow and getting the right amount of nutrients each day.
What is your favorite healthy fat?