Fatty foods have had a bad reputation. But, there is a big difference between unhealthy (saturated) fat and the healthy unsaturated variety. While deep fried and processed fatty foods are damaging to your health, your body does in fact need healthy fats for key cellular processes.
Healthy unsaturated fats have known health benefits for the heart, brain and blood pressure. They also help to reduce the risk of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders like arthritis, asthma and Crohn's disease.
Are you getting enough unsaturated fat in your diet? Most Americans aren’t, and it might just be because you’ve come to believe fat is bad for you. Take heart, there are plenty of delicious options so that you can get the fat you need and still have the health and body you love.
Oily fish. Salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and tuna are all high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to health. If fish isn’t right for your taste buds, you can take a daily high quality fish oil supplement to get the benefit of omega-3s.
Nuts. Nuts like macadamia, pecans, or other hardshells are high in monounsaturated fats and are also loaded with healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals. Walnuts are high in polyunsaturated fats, which can benefit cholesterol levels and heart health. Take nuts on the go as a snack, or sprinkle them on oatmeal and salads. When you treat yourself to ice cream or frozen yogurt, balance it out a bit by topping off with your favorite nuts.
Seeds. Flax, pumpkin, chia and sunflower seeds are another convenient source for healthy unsaturated fats. They make for a delicious on-the-go snack or in place of other munchies, like chips.
Avocados. Slice avocados on salads and sandwiches, or make a guacamole dip and serve it with cut veggies instead of chips. When you eat lunch out it’s usually very easy to have avocado added to your order.
Olives. Olives can also bring the health benefits of unsaturated fats to your diet. On the side of a sandwich or as hors d'oeuvres, incorporating them in your diet is easy.
Healthy oils. Olive oil as well as coconut, safflower, grapeseed and nut oils are healthy additions to your diet. Use them in cooking or as a salad dressing for some heart healthy deliciousness.
Dairy. As long as you don't have a dairy sensitivity or allergy, unsweetened Greek yogurt and grass-fed, organic butter are good sources of healthy fats to start your day. You can even make your own yogurt parfait in the morning. Add a bit of honey and vanilla to some Greek yogurt and top it with granola or other healthy nuts to delight your taste buds in the morning --- or anytime.
There are many creative ways to work these fat-healthy foods into your diet. Remember to exercise moderation, however, as all fats tend to be denser in calories than other food types. A little goes a long way, and you’ll enjoy the added benefit of feeling full and that will reduce your likelihood of snacking or overeating later.