6 Healthy High-Fat Foods You Should Eat More
Are you a little unsure when it comes to good vs. bad for fattening foods? Our experts simply breakdown the science and provide a list of 6 high-fat food that you should actually add into your diet.
Fat is an extremely critical component of healthy living and functioning. However, fat is high in calories and when over consuming them, the risk of weight gain and heart disease is increased. The body can benefit the most when keeping fat consumption in moderation and choosing high healthy fat foods.
Healthy Fat Explained
Running parallel with the notion our bodies do need fat, there are actually "healthy" fats. Unlike saturated and trans fats that may actually contribute to heart disease, unsaturated fats work to reverse it. There are two types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Also known as MUFAs, monounsaturated fatty acids are naturally liquid at room temperature and solid when chilled. Consistently, studies show eating foods rich in MUFAs can help improve cholesterol levels by lowering total cholesterol and that "bad" cholesterol, also known as low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. MUFAs may also improve insulin levels and control blood sugar levels.
Like MUFAs, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are also liquid at room temp and solid in the fridge. They are mostly found in plant-based products. PUFAs also improves cholesterol levels and may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
6 Foods with Lots of Healthy Fat
1. Olive Oil
Using olive oil in place of butter and margarine can reduce saturated and trans fat while increasing unsaturated fat content, with the majority coming from monounsaturated fat. Additional healthy oils include canola, flaxseed, and soybean oils.
Avocados are an extremely unique fruit, even technically a berry! Unlike most fruits recognized as carbohydrate sources, avocados are acknowledged for their fat content. These fruits are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Not only are they high in healthy fat, they are also notable for their high fiber and potassium concentrations.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Macadamia nuts contain an ample amount of monounsaturated fat; just one cup of these Hawaiian nuts contains 79 grams! Almonds and pecans are also rich in MUFAs and PUFAs. Sunflower seeds contain high amounts of healthy vitamins and full of vitamin E.
4. Peanut Butter
Like nuts, peanut butter and other nut butters are excellent healthy fat sources. Be sure to check out the ingredient label when picking a nut butter. Select products that only contain the nut and maybe a little salt. Avoid products with added oils, such as palm oil, and sugars.
5. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that appears to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. Salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel are significant sources of omega-3 fatty acids and PUFAs. When it comes to fish oils and supplements, evidence is conflicting on their value. Choosing whole food over the supplement may reap higher benefits.
Although eggs do contain saturated fat, the content is marginal and MUFAs overrule. Despite their negative annotations with cholesterol, do not shy away from dietary cholesterol. Research shows unhealthy fats may increase cholesterol more than moderate cholesterol can. Eggs contain almost every vitamin and mineral and provides an ample amount of protein.
Although healthy fats do exist, it is imperative to not overdo their intake. As a general guideline, fat should comprise 25 to 35 percent of total daily calories, with mainly unsaturated fats comprising the totality. Saturated and trans fats are extremely important to keep in check. Saturated fats from animal products should not exceed 7 percent of total calories while trans fats should be limited to only 1 percent.
National Nutrient Database. United States Department of Agriculture.