Sources of healthy fats include salmon, avocado, olive oil, nuts and chia seeds. Image credit: JuliaMikhaylova/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Your body requires fat from your diet to function: absorbing nutrients, supplying energy, keeping you warm, and supporting cell function. Including high-fat foods in your diet also slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, which helps gut health, satiates your appetite, and adds flavor to your food.
In the 1940s, the high-fat diet gained notoriety when scientific studies linked it to high cholesterol levels. The low-fat diet has been trending for decades until the paradigm has finally shifted as a more moderate approach to the importance of changing your diet.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, make up many balanced, colorful, and healthy meals. Here are ten of the best sources of these high-fat unsaturated foods.
Avocados are high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, that provides many benefits for your health — especially when eaten as part of a Mediterranean diet, according to a research article published in 2020. the border. The oleic acid in avocado oil may help protect against chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Avocados are also rich in fiber and meet about half of your daily fiber needs. Females need 25 grams of fiber and males need 38 grams of fiber per day, according to the National Institutes of Health. They are also a good source of protein, and the lutein in avocados benefits eye health.
You can substitute saturated fats with avocado, such as using mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise and butter. It’s a delicious, versatile fruit that makes a great salad dressing or addition to your morning shake.
2. Chia seeds
Chia seeds contain many rich nutrients in a small size. Chia seeds contain antioxidants, fiber, protein, calcium and iron, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Did you know that chia seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 provides the body with many benefits, from relieving symptoms of arthritis to reducing triglycerides in the blood. One study was published in 2014 in Plant food for human nutrition It is concluded that chia seed flour may reduce high blood pressure.
Put chia seeds on salads and smoothies. You can also use it as a vegan substitute for eggs in baking. Leave 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 2.5 tablespoons of water for a few minutes, and you’ll have 1 egg substitute once the mixture has curdled.
3. Dark Chocolate
Switch to dark chocolate because it’s packed with healthy fats, antioxidants, and nutrients and has been shown to prevent cravings for processed sweets. Dark chocolate is also a good snack source of magnesium.
Eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease. Participants who ate chocolate at least five times per week had the lowest risk of developing cardiovascular disease among all those studied, according to a 2011 study published in Clinical Nutrition.
Include dark chocolate in your baked goods as it contains a rich amount of flavonoid antioxidants. Look for organic cocoa that contains at least 70% dark chocolate.
4. Fatty fish
The American Heart Association recommends that people consume two servings of fatty fish each week. Fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that benefit brain and heart health. Here are some examples of fatty fish to include in your diet:
- salted fish
- Fresh tuna (not canned)
Eating two meals a week containing fatty fish will help you get the most of these health benefits. However, you should avoid fish that are high in mercury, such as swordfish.
Most people know eggs are a good source of protein, but eggs are also a good source of healthy fats and nutrients, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The yolk contains choline, which supports brain, nerve, muscle and liver function. It also contains lutein, which we previously noted is beneficial for eye health.
Eggs have also gained notoriety for negatively affecting cholesterol levels in the past. However, recent research reveals the opposite. For example, a 2018 study published in heart revealed that eating up to one egg per day may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as observed in 0.5 million adult Chinese participants.
Add eggs to your diet by trying hard-boiled eggs and tender omelets with grilled vegetables, which are just a few healthy ways to eat eggs.
Flaxseeds provide a powerful source of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Increasing your fiber content also makes you feel full, and flaxseeds are so small that you don’t eat much to make it happen. Flaxseeds are rich in lignans, a plant protein that produces antioxidants and estrogen effects.
Include flaxseeds in your diet by mixing them into baked goods, smoothies or yogurt. Flaxseeds also enrich the taste and flavor of vegan burgers, and provide a nutty bite.
Nuts are among the most convenient and healthy sources of protein, fats, fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants in your pantry. Including more nuts in your diet can help prevent type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and lower cholesterol, according to Harvard Health.
A five-year study followed more than 373,000 people and found that those who ate nuts regularly were less likely to be overweight, overweight or obese in the long run. The study was published in European Journal of Nutrition in 2017.
Each grain has a different nutritional profile, so you should consume a variety of nuts. Add nuts to casseroles, salads, smoothies, brownies, or trail mix.
8. Nut Butter and Seeds
Sources of delicious, convenient, and often overlooked healthy fats are nut and seed butters. Including them in your diet provides a way to benefit from dietary sources, including an excellent amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
The only downside to eating nuts and seeds is that they are high in calories. Reduce each serving to 2 tablespoons, for example, on a slice of toast or in the morning smoothie. These spreads also make a good dip for apple slices.
Olives are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Black olives are a good source of monounsaturated fat and fiber, but processed olives may contain high levels of sodium.
Oleuropein is a beneficial compound found in olives that researchers suggest could ease complications in the treatment of diabetes, according to a 2021 study published in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. The compound helps the body make more insulin and purify amylin, a molecule that contributes to the development of diabetes. According to the results of the study, oleuropein also reduces oxidative stress and regenerates tissues.
Include more olives in your diet by building a charcuterie board with olives, making tapinade or adding it to pasta dishes.
10. Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, vitamin E and vitamin K. Extra virgin olive oil has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease in those who are high risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association reports that eating more than one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil per day can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Extra virgin olive oil can be added as a sauce to many snacks and meals, and it has a lower smoke point than many other oils.
These 10 healthy fatty foods are excellent sources of nutrition that may reduce risk factors for chronic disease and other health concerns. Reduce the amount of saturated fats and trans fats in your diet. Share any concerns about adding high-fat foods to your diet with your primary doctor or registered dietitian before making changes, as you may have an unknown sensitivity to certain foods.