Fat is one of those things that sounds bad for you, but, as it turns out, not all fats are created equal. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated are healthy fats – they’re good for you, and you should be eating them. Even saturated fats, which many think are bad, have a lot of benefits we should be aware of. However, trans fats sneak up on you, and need to be avoided as much as possible.
There are definitely a lot of foods high in healthy fats that you probably aren’t aware of, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should stop eating them.
Monounsaturated fat comes from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish and is considered a “good” fat. There are many health benefits that come with including monounsaturated fats in your diet.
One medium avocado has 23 grams of fat. However, it’s that same monounsaturated fat, which is good for your heart. Your body needs healthy fats in moderation to help it absorb other key nutrients.
Okay, you probably know this one already, but it’s important to be reminded of these things. Almonds may contain 45 grams of fat per cup, but they’re high in monounsaturated fat. Eating a handful of nuts a day can help lower your cholesterol, and almonds have been known to fight belly fat, so you’re essentially fighting bad fat with good fat.
Fish contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, but as your brain is made up of mostly fat, these healthy fats are essential to brain growth and human function.
Black olives contain 15 grams of fat, but, again, it’s the good kind. They’re also known to have nutrients that help prevent cancer, so I’ll definitely be eating more of these bad boys in the future.
Dark chocolate contains more of the unhealthy kind of fat. However, it does have some good fat in it as well. The monounsaturated fat found in dark chocolate is good for your brain and immune system. Buy dark chocolate without dairy, as it has much less saturated fat in it than those containing dairy.
Polyunsaturated fats are essential healthy fats. They’re required for normal body functions, and since your body can’t make them, you need to eat them.
Soybeans are a great source of protein and essential fatty acids. Soy is in many food products, and even though it’s controversial if we should be eating a lot of it, there are some reasons why you might want to include soybeans into your daily food routine.
Seeds such as pumpkin, hemp, and chia are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Even though they contain fat, they are nutritional power houses. I not only eat chia seeds in my oatmeal every day, but also chia seed protein bars for snacks. For me, the more chia the better.
One cup of flaxseed equals 46 grams of fat. I know that’s a lot, and you’ve probably stopped believing all this fat is good for you, but it is. For flaxseed, you only need 1-2 tablespoon for the benefits, so you aren’t eating as much fat as it sounds. Flaxseed can pack a powerful punch if you let it.
Olive oil is known as the original healthy fat. It has numerous health benefits, even though it’s high in fat and is a food you definitely want in your daily diet. I use this as a salad dressing each day to get the health benefits from it.
An egg contains about 5 grams of fat. About 3 of the grams are from monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. They are known to help you feel full longer, and can contain omega-3 fatty acids which you definitely want.
I know you hear saturated fat and immediately think you need to stay away, but here are some reasons why you should be eating this type of fat.
Beef, Pork, and Lamb
The percent of saturated fat found in beef, pork, and lamb is around 4.1 percent to 4.9 percent. While saturated fats in grass-fed meats are considered relatively healthy, or at least something that you don’t need to stay clear of, not all fats are good for you, like the ones found in hot dogs.
Dark Chicken Meat
Chicken contains about 5.5 percent of saturated fat. However, beware of the chicken skin, which contains 7.7 grams of saturated fat in just three ounces. To make your life easier, make sure you know the real difference between white and dark meat.
The percent of saturated fat found in cheese is about 8.5 percent. However, some cheeses do have unexpected health benefits that outweigh the fat content.
About 70 percent of fat in greek yogurt is saturated. In some brands, the yogurt contains 16 grams of saturated fat in just seven ounces. Also, there are differences between Greek yogurt brands that you should be aware of before choosing which is best for you.
Coconut oil is known for its high levels of saturated fat. However, the fat it contains is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, so you should definitely learn to love the fat in coconut oil.
Trans fat is the only fat you should try to stay clear of. The other types of fat have health benefits that are necessary for your body and good for your health. Meanwhile, trans fat has no known health benefits and is known to increase your cholesterol.
When it comes to foods such as french fries, or anything fried or battered, it’s best for your heart if you stay clear of these foods, as they have a ton of trans fat.
Margarine used to be marketed as the healthy alternative to butter, but it depends on the hydrogenated oils it contains, some of which can be high in trans fat and saturated fat.
Popcorn alone is a healthy snack to munch on, but many of the microwave brands add on toppings which add trans fat to the ingredients. Movie popcorn can have up to five grams of trans fat. Do your body a favor and sneak in your own popcorn next time.
Trans fat is in many frozen burgers, beef sausages, hotdogs, and ground beef. Plant-based food is a much healthier option compared to the fat found in animal products.
Some cracker brands contain hydrogenated cottonseed oil in their ingredients, which then add trans fat to your crunchy snack. Make sure to read the ingredients carefully before buying crackers to go along with your cheese plate.
Many of these foods should still be eaten on a daily basis. Foods high in saturated fats contain healthy fats that have many health benefits. A lot of times, you can’t judge a food by fat content alone, because it’s all dependent on the type of fat and the overall nutritional value of that food. In short, don’t be afraid if there’s a lot of fat in certain foods, because odds are that fat is just what your body needs.