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Healthy Fatty Foods that You Need to Include in Your Diet

Are You Afraid of Fatty Foods?

Many people think the amount of fat you eat is directly related to how much fat your body gains. Here are some true facts about fat that may make you think again:

  • While fat does have more calories per gram (9) than protein or carbs, it also is filling.
  • Fat encases your organs, especially your brain, keeping them protected.
  • The only bad fat is trans fat, which will clog your arteries.

As long as you eat fewer calories and remember that fat has more calories per gram, you shouldn't see any difference in your weight.

Our Favorite Fatty Foods that are Good For You

Most people try to cut saturated fats (some types of which are linked to higher risk of heart disease) out of their diets, but not all fats are created equal. There are healthy fats out there that make good additions to your plate, even saturated fats. The most common healthy fats are found mainly in plants and fish: monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

While you should avoid the “bad” fatty foods, you can promote your health by indulging in the “healthy” fats (but, as always, in moderation). Instead of a low fat diet, follow a “right” fat diet. I personally consume a high fat diet, but don't worry about it because I know that the right fats actually benefit my health.

 

Healthy High-Fat Foods You NEED to Eat Avocados 

Not just for guacamole anymore, avocados are a great natural source of monounsaturated fats, which help lower total and LDL cholesterol. It may also help increase the absorption of specific carotenoids--chemicals that promote heart and eye health. Avocados are also natural sources of soluble fiber, vitamin E, folate and potassium.

Avocado Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (1 ounce)

  • Calories: 50
  • Total Fat: 4.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g
  • Fiber: 2 g

 

Peanuts & Peanut Butter

Jelly’s favorite companion, peanut butter, and its parent, the peanut, are natural sources of monounsaturated fat—the fats that may promote heart health. Eating nuts like peanuts has been linked in studies to reducing heart disease. The healthy fats found in nuts are credited with lowering cardiovascular disease risk. Peanuts also deliver beta-sitosterol, a plant chemical that helps maintain healthy cholesterol.

Peanut lovers be warned, though: both peanuts and peanut butter are higher in calories. There are 166 calories in an ounce of nuts and 94 calories in a tablespoon of peanut butter. The good news is that even though peanut and peanut products are high in calories, people who eat them regularly have been shown to have a lower body mass index and lower cholesterol than those who didn’t eat peanuts.

Get creative in using peanuts. Add them to vegetable and fruit salads, include them in rice and spread peanut butter on fruit.

PeanutsPeanuts Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (1 ounce)

  • Calories: 166
  • Total Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g
  • Fiber: 2 g


Peanuts Butter Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (1 tablespoon)

  • Calories: 94
  • Total Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g
  • Fiber: 1 g

 

Olives and Olive Oil

Olives are one of nature’s most abundant sources of healthy monounsaturated fats—the type of fat that helps lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Olives also deliver phytochemicals like polyphenols. These protective compounds have several health benefits, including promoting a healthy cardiovascular system.

Along with eating the whole version of olives, you can also take advantage of their healthy goodness by switching your kitchen oil to olive oil. Great for cooking and salad dressings, olive oil shares the same health benefits as the whole version. Preliminary research shows consuming two tablespoons of olive oil a day may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. When shopping, choose the extra virgin varieties of olive oil because they contain the highest levels of phenolic compounds.

Olive OilOlive Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (5 large olives)

  • Calories: 25
  • Total Fat: 2.35 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.75 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.74 g
  • Fiber:  <1 g


Olive Oil Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (2 tablespoons)

  • Calories: 239
  • Total Fat: 27 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.7 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.8 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 19.7 g
  • Fiber: 0 g

 

 

Walnuts

walnutsIn the world of nuts, walnut is king when it comes to omega-3s. Walnuts have the highest levels of EFAs compared to any other nut. They are one of the few plant sources of healthy omega-3 fats, which support so many areas of health—including the heart, joints and brain. One small handful of walnuts delivers 2.6 grams of omega-3 fats, which is more than the minimal amount recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Another bonus of eating walnuts is that they help keep hunger at bay.

Walnut Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (1/4 cup)

  • Calories: 196
  • Total Fat: 20 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 14 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g
  • Fiber: 2 g

 

Edamame Soybeans

A favorite in countries like Japan and Hawaii, edamame is an immature soybean, picked prior to the plant’s hardening stage. It’s a great protein alternative to meat in the diet. Edamame is natural source of polyunsaturated fat. This type of fat, found in plant-based foods, supports healthy cholesterol levels, which in turn helps promote a healthy cardiovascular system.

A study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet that substituted meat with soy products, and ate fiber, almonds and plant sterol-enriched margarine, lowered cholesterol in a third of the study’s participants. Use edamame in stews, stir-fry and pasta dishes. Look for certified organic Edamame at your local grocery store.

EdamameEdamame Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (1 cup)

  • Calories: 130
  • Total Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
 
 

 

Sunflower Seeds

A staple at ballparks from small town t-ball games to the professional stadiums, sunflower seeds are a nutritious, convenient snack. A handful of sunflower seeds delivers linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid. Because our bodies cannot make linoleic acid on their own, we must acquire it from food sources. Linoleic acid aids in synthesizing other fats and supports heart health. In one study, women with higher intakes of linoleic acid had a 23% lower risk of heart disease than women who had lower intakes. Sunflower seeds are also a natural source of vitamin E, a fat soluble antioxidant that benefits several areas of health including cell membranes, brain and heart health.

Sunflower SeedsSunflower Seeds Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (1/4 cup)

  • Calories: 207
  • Total Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 13 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g
  • Fiber: 4 g

 

 

Coconut Oil

Despite being comprised mostly of saturated fats, coconut oil is a healthy fat you can enjoy. The saturated fat in this oil is comprised of medium-chain triglycerides, which the body can easily digest and convert to energy.

coconuts for coconut oilA perfect addition to add to a smoothie, a substitute for vegetable oil in a recipe for baked goods or simply used to fry your favorite stir-fry recipe, coconut oil is a must-have fat in your diet. 

Coconut Oil Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (1 Tablespoon)

  • Calories: 130
  • Total Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated Fat: 13 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g

 

Ground Flaxseed

Known for their omega-3 content, flaxseeds are another natural source of healthy fats. Flaxseed features ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid), an essential fatty acid that has been shown to promote cardiovascular health. flaxseed ala healthy fatFlaxseeds are also a source of lignans, a type of fiber that has some estrogen-like effects. With a nutty flavor, flaxseed also makes a great-tasting addition to baked goods, yogurts, cereals and smoothies.

Flaxseed (ground) Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (2 tablespoons)

  • Calories: 75
  • Total Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: >1 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g
  • Fiber: 4 g

 

 

Salmon

Wild-caught salmon is considered the poster-child for healthy fats. One of the very best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a great way to balance out your EPA:DHA ratio.

omega-3 salmon filletsSalmon is a great protein source that can be featured as the main course or added to a salad. Salmon is a great source of phosphorus, potassium and selenium.

Salmon Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (3 oz)

  • Calories: 155
  • Total Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: >1 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.8 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 2.3 g
  • Protein: 21.6 g

 

Almonds

You may love the versatile almond for its delicate flavor or because it complements almost any dish, but we love it for its ability to support cardiovascular health. Almonds are a natural source of monounsaturated fats (the same fats that have made olive oil famously healthy). A University of California–Davis study found that those who consumed almonds and almond oil had lower total cholesterol, lower LDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides and higher HDL levels than those that didn’t. Almonds also deliver vitamin E, an antioxidant that is known to support heart health.

almondsAlmonds Nutrient Profile
Per Serving (1/3 cup)

  • Calories: 271
  • Total Fat: 23 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 6 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 15 g
  • Fiber: 6 g

 

Facts about fat

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What are your Favorite Fatty Foods? Are you concerned with eating too much fat when it's the right kind of fat?

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