When it comes to healthy-fat foods, you probably know that avocado is one of them. As people have slowly come around to the idea that fat is not the enemy, this nutritional powerhouse has become a meal prep staple for many in recent years.
There is so much more than avocados for healthy fat. But with nutrition trends changing constantly it can be hard to know what the deal really is with fat. We are here to set the record straight, we rounded up the ultimate list of healthy-fat foods you need to know about.
Here’s what we mean by healthy-fat foods:
Fat comes in a few different forms. The phrase healthy fat usually refers to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. What makes them healthy is that among other heart-health benefits, they help reduce LDL cholesterol, the kind that clogs your arteries. Here’s a breakdown of each one:
Monounsaturated fats: “These are among the healthiest of all fats,” They can be found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Polyunsaturated fats: The two main types are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, essential fats our bodies need for brain function and cell growth. Omega-3s are mostly found in foods like fish and algae, nuts, and seeds.
One medium avocado has around 23 grams of primarily monounsaturated fat. Plus, a medium avocado contains 40 percent of your daily fiber needs, and is an antioxidant that may protect your vision.
Walnuts are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 found in plants.
3. Nut and seed butters
This might be one of our favorites. One of the easiest ways to get healthy fat into almost any meal or snack. Try almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter for a plant-based dose of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Tip: pay attention to the added sugar. Try and stick with lower sugar nut butters.
4. Olive Oil
You know it, the go-to cooking oil in most of our kitchens for a good reason: Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fats. (A tablespoon of the stuff has 14 grams of fat total.) One cup of black olives has 15 grams of mainly monounsaturated fat. They may be small, but that means olives can help boost your satiety.
5. Ground flaxseed
Flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, making it a good way for vegetarians (or those who don't eat fish) to meet their needs. Flaxseed also contains both insoluble and soluble fiber, a nutrient that's key for feeling satiated.
Tofu is considered a health food for a reason: It's a solid plant-based protein made of soybeans, and it's low in sodium while providing nearly a quarter of your daily calcium needs. It’s not as high in fat as the other foods on this list, but tofu is still a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. A 3-ounce portion of super-firm tofu contains 5 to 6 grams of fat and about 1 gram of saturated fat.
7. Chia Seeds
Their popularity is well-deserved: These small but mighty seeds have omega-3s, fiber, protein, essential minerals, and antioxidants. Add a tablespoon into your smoothies for a quick fat, fiber, and protein boost.
Eggs are an easy source of protein. People often think egg whites are a healthier option than whole eggs because they contain less fat. While it's true that the egg yolk contains some fat, it's also packed with important nutrients (not to mention it tastes great too). One whole egg contains 5 grams of fat, but only 1.5 grams are saturated. Whole eggs are also a good source of choline (one egg yolk has about 300 micrograms), an important B vitamin that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.
Got a favorite healthy fat food? Share with us your favorite way to add healthy fats into your diet.