Years ago, people thought that eating low-fat foods would lead to a low-fat body. But it turns out that consuming the right kinds of fat are important if you want to be healthy, fit, and looking great.
We’ve put together a list of 6 foods with healthy fats that you should start eating today. But first, what makes certain types of fat “healthy”?
Types of Fat
Trans fats and saturated fats are the “bad fats” that doctors and nutritionists warn about. These fats result in obesity, heart disease and all sorts of other health problems. That’s where “good fats” come in to save the day, like little blobs in shining armor. The good fats include monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s.
Foods with Healthy Fats
Many nuts and seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts also contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which lower bad cholesterol levels. Numerous studies have been conducted over time that prove consuming nuts lowers your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Think only birds eat seeds? Well, our feathered friends are onto something.
Seeds are a great source of healthy fats. Flaxseeds contain omega 3’s and have been linked to reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Chia seeds were used by the ancient Mayan people for energy and are another great source of omega 3’s. 1 tablespoon of chia seed contains 3 grams of protein, 2282 mg of Omega 3 and 752 mg of Omega 6 fatty acids.
These seeds can be consumed in smoothies, cereal, or as a topping for any of your favorite yogurt.
Eating avocados can lower both your total cholesterol and your bad-for-you low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, and raise your good-for-you high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol. Plus, the monounsaturated fat found in avocados may reduce your risk for prostate and other types of cancer.
Related: 5 Benefits of Avocado
So fix up some guacamole for a snack to keep your cholesterol down and reduce your risk of cancer.
4. Cold Water Fish
A study conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1997 found that Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils could lower triglycerides by 25%-30%. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help your heart by reducing inflammation and the growth of plaque found in arteries.
Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse! Eggs are a great source of protein and contain substantial amounts of vitamins A, B, D and E. They’re also packed with minerals such as iron, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium.
Eggs contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for your heart by keeping your cholesterol in a healthy range. Eggs also contain a small amount of saturated fats, however, so just be sure to eat them in moderation…
6. Olive Oil
Olive oil contains lots of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats help lower your total cholesterol levels, normalize blood clotting, and benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control. But be warned, olive oil is extremely high in calories so it should be used in moderation.
Related: 37 Superfoods to Start Eating Today
Don’t rummage through the grocery aisles looking for fake, nonfat food-products. Instead, choose real foods with healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, eggs, olive oil and fish that can help your heart, lower your risk for cancer, and taste great, too!
Featured photo by Mukumbura
Originally published May 2013, updated on June 5, 2014.