In case you missed it, fat is back—in a big way. More specifically, healthy high fat foods.
The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasize that the types of fat we eat are more important in determining the risk of heart disease than is total fat intake. They note that replacing foods high in saturated fats with foods high in unsaturated fats has protective benefits, especially when it comes to heart disease.
Plus, unsaturated fats help keep you full longer so you avoid overeating throughout the day, and they help reduce the bad cholesterol in your blood. Did we mention they taste good, too? Keep reading to learn the healthiest, high-fat foods you should stock up on.
1. Dark Chocolate
You might be surprised to learn that dark chocolate contains monounsaturated fats like oleic acid. Plus, dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The higher percentage of cacao in chocolate, the more antioxidants it contains, so go for a 70% or darker, non-alkalized option. Enjoy around 1 ounce of dark chocolate (which is a square or two) a few times a week to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Avocado can squash hunger, boost energy, lower cholesterol, and reduce inflammation, thanks to its 15 grams of heart-healthy fats, along with fiber and tons of antioxidants. (Did you know over 75 percent of avocado’s total content is considered “good” fat?)
There are also tons of great ways to use avocado, from slathering them on your eggs to stuffing them with beans and quinoa for a delicious appetizer. A good serving size is ⅓ of a medium avocado, which has about 80 calories (versus 240 calories for a whole avocado).
We love almonds, which contain about 14 grams of unsaturated fat per ounce, along with tons of protein, antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium. Some other nuts that we’re crazy about:
– Pistachios: They’re great for your heart, managing your weight, improving your digestion, and protecting you from diabetes and hypertension. Pistachios have 6 grams of protein and about 11 grams of “good” fats.
– Cashews: With 13 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein, you’ll definitely feel full with a handful.
– Walnuts: They don’t just have heart-healthy fats like all nuts do—they also contain a ton of alpha linoleic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3, that has been shown to help reduce inflammation in your arteries.
For a long time, the yolk in eggs was reviled for its fat and cholesterol content. But evidence linking food cholesterol and blood cholesterol is weak and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans lifted the previous recommended limit for dietary cholesterol.
Eggs are high in unsaturated fat and are packed with other nutrients like protein, B vitamins, selenium, and choline. Can you eat eggs everyday? Yep! Just stick to one egg per day, suggests the American Heart Association.
Wild, cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, shrimp, flounder, and trout (among others) are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. These two types of omega-3s have been associated with many of the brain and cardiovascular benefits related to healthy fats. Aim for 2-3 servings of a variety of fish and shellfish (8-12 ounces) per week.
Similar to nuts, seeds are a good source of monounsaturated fats as well as alpha linoleic acid (ALA), a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, seeds are loaded with protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals, and they help protect against certain diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Add ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, or hemp seeds to your morning oatmeal or smoothie, snack on shelled pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, and top stir-fries with a sprinkle of sesame seeds for an extra nutrient boost.
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