You probably already know all about delicious healthy fats: How they’re good for your heart, great for your brain, essential for strong bodily function, and well, won’t make you fat. But even with the awareness of good fats spreading, it’s still easy to think of fat as an enemy to your waistline, rather than a friend. We blame semantics!
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – which are jam-packed with other good nutrients – keep you full longer, help regulate overeating throughout the day, and reduce the bad cholesterol in your blood. To help clear up any confusion about good versus bad fats, here’s a few popular foods that are definitely high in fat, and definitely good for you.
#1 DARK CHOCOLATE
Chocolate! Are you out of your mind? Nope. Dark chocolate is a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid, and its cacao bean content has been suggested to improve mood. It also contains great antioxidants like resveratrol, which helps protect your body from heart disease.
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 good fat?) We can dig. There’s also tons of great ways to use avocado, from slathering them on your eggs, or stuffing them for delicious appetizers. Check out some of our favorite stuffed avocado recipes here.
We’re nuts for nuts. Specifically 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 as all nuts do, they also contain a ton of alpha linoleic acid (ALA), which have been known to help reduce inflammation in your arteries.
#4 WHOLE EGGS
For a long time, the yolk in eggs was reviled for its fat and cholesterol content. But research now shows eggs are high in unsaturated fat, and the government’s dietary guidelines recently gave the green light on eggs because evidence linking food cholesterol and blood cholesterol is weak. Choline, an important nutrient, is also found primarily in an egg’s yolk.
Remember oleic acid? That monounsaturated fat in avocado is also found in beef, and beef serves up seriously high-quality protein (25 grams per 3 ounces), and iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Hello, steak.
So what are the fats you should avoid? Well, all trans fats – found in fast food, fried food, and most frozen foods. Artificial trans fats are added to processed foods to make them last longer on the shelf. Foods high in trans fat can make you gain weight, boost your bad cholesterol levels, and lead to inflammation, heart disease, and diabetes. It’s always important to remember the difference between natural-occurring fats like the ones we listed above, and these “franken-fats” that do nothing for your healthy body! Read more about healthy fats in our Good Fat Guide.