Healthy Fats: The 7 Best Foods to Eat
Not only are eggs considered the "perfect protein" (6g per egg) for containing all essential amino acids, they’re packed with vitamin D, riboflavin, and vitamin B12 to boot. The yolk contains heart-healthy fat, including omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, choline, and selenium. There’s only 1.6 grams of saturated fat per large egg. And that’s not all. Research suggests consuming conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), found in egg yolks, and hitting the gym for at least 4.5 hours per week significantly reduces body fat–not weight. More research discovered CLA has a direct impact on the reduction of some forms of colon cancer, too.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLE OILS
Coconut oil is enjoying a recent resurgence; the fatty acid MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and even fat-burning properties. Research has found people lose more weight, especially belly fat, when they consume coconut oil. Algae (monounsaturated fat), olive (monounsaturated fat), peanut (monounsaturated fat), walnut (omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic) all have their unique health benefits and work best in different scenarios; read here for which to cook with and eat raw.
NUTS AND NUT BUTTERS
Cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts are chock-full of monounsaturated fats, which can keep your cholesterol in check by lowering bad LDL cholesterol and raising good HDL levels. A 2013 study of nearly 190,000 people published in the New England Journal of Medicine found those who ate a one-ounce serving of nuts daily decreased their risk of dying from any cause, including cancer and heart disease, by 20 percent. “These people also tend to be leaner, which is a curious finding, considering a serving of nuts is 160 to 200 calories,” says study researcher Charles S. Fuchs, M.D. Fuchs suggests that nuts’ positive effect on energy balance, metabolism, and satiety likely explain how the high-fat snack can actually keep your weight in check. Rotate what you snack on: pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts all have their own nutrient profile. Add nut butters to your diet too. Used as a dip, spread, or smoothie add-in, you can boost your protein and healthy fat intake with almond butter in so many dishes.
Olive oil usually gets the health halo, but the fruit itself has tons of antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease and healthy monounsaturated fat which can increase good cholesterol. The oleic acid olives contain can reduce blood pressure, too.
The CDC suggests people who eat, on average, half a medium avocado daily are healthier than those who skip the fruit, more closely adhere to dietary guidelines, consume 48 percent more vitamin K, 36 percent more fiber, 23 percent more vitamin E, 16 percent more potassium and 13 percent more magnesium, have higher intakes of healthy (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats, have higher good HDL cholesterol, weigh about 7.4 pounds less and have lower BMIs, and have 50 percent lower odds of developing metabolic syndrome. Need we go on? Make some avocado toast already.
Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring. These fish have an impressive combination of protein, healthy fats, vitamin D, and marine oils, which are essential for a healthy nervous system. You can bulk up and boost your total-body health by eating more fatty fish.
Flaxseeds and chia seeds are an amazing plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Both are are brimming with fiber, perfect for maintaining digestive health and lowering cholesterol. Toss either, or both, in your oats and smoothies for some sustained energy.
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