When we think of fats and fatty foods, we think of them as “the enemy.” Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just want a healthier lifestyle, the idea of “healthy” fats seems wrong. But any balanced diet requires the appropriate amount of fat as much as it needs protein and carbohydrates.
“Healthy fats” typically refer to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are needed for brain function and cell growth. These fats also help with heart health and to lower cholesterol levels in the body. Fats can aid in the absorption of vitamins, and help you stay full and control your appetite, overall improving your weight loss.
Meanwhile, trans fats and saturated fat are usually considered bad, but the latter is often debated by experts. Trans fats are typically used in processed foods, like condiments, lollies, crisps, biscuits, and cakes. Trans fats can increase levels of bad cholesterol and while manufacturers are marketing more trans fat-free options, it’s good to be wary of them. Saturated fats are found in butter, full-fat dairy, cheese, and fried and processed foods. These fats also increase your cholesterol levels and can clog your arteries. However, saturated fats together with high-glycaemic carbohydrates have been found to be the culprit, and not so much the fat themselves.
So, where can you find all the good fats? Try incorporating these foods into your diet for your needed dose of fat. Experts recommended a 7 to 20 percent intake of fat in one’s daily diet. In a 2,000-calorie diet, that would be about 16 to 60 grams of fat.
Not only are avocados rich in monounsaturated fats, but they have fibre and protein too. This fruit has proven to be versatile and can be used as a substitute for butter, mayonnaise, or sour cream. However, avocados contain a lot of calories, and a quarter or half an avocado a day is the recommended portion.
If you’re not a fan of coconut, reconsider your stance. Coconut fat is high in saturated fat, specifically lauric acid, which fights bacteria, boost energy, and improve cholesterol levels.
Make nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, and pecans your new favourite snack. Almonds, in particular, contain plenty of vitamin E. Pistachios are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are great for eye health. This category of foods also includes nut butters! Great for spreading on a piece of toast or as a dip. When purchasing nut butters, make sure to study the nutritional facts. Avoid those high in sugar and salt.
Salmon and Tuna
Salmon is one of the oily types of fish containing omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna, meanwhile, is also rich in such acids and can be easy to include in your diet, since you can go make all kinds of dishes from tuna, like steak, salad or sushi. However, it’s advisable to limit your salmon and tuna intake to 340 grams or two meals a week.
Also, a terrific source of protein, eggs are packed with nutrients along with some healthy saturated fat. If you’re worried about your cholesterol, research has proven that moderate egg intake can, in fact, improve the health of your heart.
Lean grass-fed beef and pork
The difference lean, grass-fed meat makes is a fairly significant one. Compared to meats, grass-fed beef is higher in stearic acid and omega-3 fatty acid.
Yoghurt has long been touted as a healthier option, but make sure you choose full-fat yoghurts, like Greek yoghurt. They contain less sugar, and more protein and fat. Also take care to avoid varieties with fruits mixed in, since they may have more sugar than needed. You can add in your own fresh fruits and nuts at home instead.