6 High-Fat Foods That Are Good for You

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6 High-Fat Foods That Are Good for You

self logoIt wasn’t long ago that we blamed fat for all of life’s ails. Sure, fat can make you gain weight and contribute to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and stroke. But not all fats were created equal. In fact, as you’ve probably heard, certain types of fat are actually good for your health.

So which “fattening” foods should you be eating?

“While it’s a good idea to limit saturated fats (found in cheese, meat, butter, sausage and desserts), you need fat to aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, E, D and K,” says Registered Dietitian Patricia Bannan, author of Eat Right When Time Is Tight. A bonus: Fat makes you feel full for longer periods of time.

The key is focusing on the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and eliminating the bad fats (trans and saturated fats). Here are a few of Bannan’s favorites:

Avocados Sure, avocados are high in fat — perhaps that’s why they’ve earned the nickname “butter pears” — but most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated, the heart-healthy kind that actually lowers bad cholesterol. In recent years, the U.S. government has even revised its official nutrition guidelines to urge Americans to eat more avocados. Moderation is still key, since one medium avocado boasts 30 grams of fat. Try substituting avocadoes for butter or cream cheese, or replace the mayo on your sandwich with avocado slices.

Eggs Eggs are an inexpensive and easy source of protein. People often think eggs whites are a healthier option than whole eggs because they contain less fat, and while it’s true that the egg yolk contains some fat, it’s also packed with important nutrients. 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 of choline), an important B vitamin that helps regulate the brain, nervous system and cardiovascular system. And while there’s a lot of buzz about the cholesterol in eggs, research has linked moderate egg consumption to improved heart health.

Olive Oil Olive oil is commonly used in the Mediterranean diet (one of the most recommended for a healthy lifestyle), and we’ve all heard that olive oil reduces the risk of heart disease, blood pressure and certain types of cancer. However, it still packs 100 calories per tablespoon, so moderation is important if you’re watching your weight. A recent study published in Neurology found that cooking with heart-healthy olive oil and using it for salad dressing may cut stroke risk.

Nuts Your best bets for nutrition are almonds, walnuts and pistachios. Almonds are the richest in vitamin E; walnuts contain a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid; and pistachios have lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids important for eye health. Research shows nut eaters are generally thinner, less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and have a reduced risk of heart disease to boot. In terms of getting the most from your snack, pistachios win hands down. One of the lowest-fat nuts, you get 49 pistachios in a 1-ounce serving, compared to 23 almonds or 14 walnut halves.

Nut Butter Nut butters are another source of healthy fats, and peanut butter is just the beginning—try almond or cashew butter if you’re feeling adventurous. All of these butters boost protein and fiber intake. Just be forewarned, some are high in added sugars. Choose all-natural nut butters with as few ingredients as possible. Bannan likes almond butter jars that contain “dry roasted almonds” as the sole ingredients. Some may also contain sea salt.

Fatty Fish The term “fatty fish” may sound unappealing, but actually, these are the healthiest and most delicious foods from the sea. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids—good fats, unlike the bad saturated fat you find in most meats. According to the American Heart Association, people should eat at least two servings weekly of lake herring, lake trout, mackerel, salmon, sardines or tuna for the healthy omega-3 fats they contain.

Which high-fat foods do you rely on to meet your macro goals? And which ones do you stay away from? Share in the comments!

 

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  • LissaKay

    Butter, cream, coconut oil are my favs to get my 100 grams of fat a day with a fourth of that being saturated.

    • Kenny

      Exactly, I aim for 150g per day

  • llysenw

    Careful with the fish. The higher up the food chain, the more mercury in the fish, so it’s better to concentrate on the lower end, like sardines rather than the upper end like tuna.

  • EuchreMomma

    Love avocado oil on my salad instead of olive oil.

  • Stan Anvik

    I was eating almonds while reading this! (in moderation of course)

  • SharonS

    I eat a quarter of an avocado on my sandwich every day. No condiments that way and it tastes wonderful. It does a much better job of keeping me from getting hungry later in the day too. Another special treat is a half avocado baked with an egg in it. Look it up on Pinterest–it’s an amazing lunch or dinner!

  • curlishari

    Mmmm, avocado, nuts, eggs, olive oil and fish are staples of my daily diet. I tried those stupid no fat diets back in the 80’s an 90′ and kept gaining weight. What a bunch of malarky.

  • saumya

    even clarified butter is good fat, good for heart and skin!

  • Mary Wielinski

    I use flax milk for my cereal or oatmeal.

  • Dee

    All my favorites and in my daily diet. The other fat I use is 2 Tbs of cream in a protein shake, and 1 coffee creamer per 1 cup coffee when I go out for breakfast.
    I especially enjoy the seasonal flavored creamer: pumpkin spice!

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  • Nicci Wiedenhoft

    Saturated fat is NOT bad (especially from full-fat dairy & butter!) and peanuts are NOT nuts. They are legumes. Also, wouldn’t it be better to eat the nuts themselves (although nut butters ARE delicious) as you will be more satisified with less calories? Other than that, congrats on finally (sort of) spreading the word that fat is not the devil.

  • She Rocks Fitness

    I make sure to include all of these fats on a daily basis. Right now my favorites are avocados and toast! Nut Butter happens every day…a spoonful every morning!

  • Kimberly Hennessy

    Coconut oil too!!

  • Katrina Blakely Dunkin

    I like nuts, avacado and olive oil. I also like coconut oil. In addition, I try to encorporate eggs into my meals. I LOVE fresh ground almond butter on gluten free crackers or celery…or just by itself. I try to eat fish at least once a week. Not a huge fan. However, the fish recommended in this article are not the kind I eat (apart from tuna). Salmon tastes nasty to me and lake fish often tastes too “fishy”. I prefer tilapia, amberjack or grouper. I love swordfish but it’s a rare treat.

  • Kelly Kam Ying Ming

    How many eggs is too many in a day?

    • Ben

      No such thing as too many, dependent on your overall metabolic rate of course. I eat at least 3 a day, am reasonably active at work plus run/MTB 4 times a week, have lost a heap of weight.

  • Ben

    It’s depressing to see such outdated info on fat still bandied around as ‘fact’ even now as even mainstream health organizations finally have accepted there is no link between saturated fats and cardiovascular issues. Saturated animal fats are healthy, nay, essential nutrients for your body to function. Polyunsaturated seed and vegetable oils are heavy in Omega-6 oils and the small-particle LDL cholesterol that causes inflammation and vascular plague. If you want to lose weight and feel great – eat natural fats! Meat, eggs, nuts, avocado, fish.

    • Adam Hagen

      2nd this sentiment.

  • Lisa Rowlis

    I’m a big fan of eggs. I boil half a dozen and they do me for breakfast or a morning tea snack. I also chop up a boiled egg in a wrap with baby spinach and greek yoghurt for lunches. Want a quick, healthy, low cost and easy dinner? Try scrambled with nice green steamed veggies, some cherry tomatoes and red capsicum to get some red into your life :). My other favorite is snacking on nuts.

    • lwright311

      I’m gonna try your wrap idea. Healthy fat and protein.

      • Lisa Rowlis

        Glad to help out, I’ve also included another option on my reply to Karen

    • Karen

      That wrap sounds delicious! Thanks for the idea!

      • Lisa Rowlis

        Your welcome Karen, I also exchange the egg for smoked salmon as a treat cause its a bit more expensive but gives me the variety.

  • lwright311

    Love eggs, hate avocados. I am a huge fan of cashews too. For travel snacks, I really like the emerald 100 calorie packs of flavored almonds and there are pouches of all sorts of flavored tuna now. Just watch for added sugar and sodium.

  • Kenny

    Grass fed butter, cream, coconut oil, eggs, nuts, steak and animal fat. All in abundance

  • Kenny

    Grass fed butter, red meat, cream, coconut oil, eggs, all in abundance

  • Kristopher Long

    The food diary on myfitnesspal has my allowance of the good fats set to 0g, and until now I thought those were bad! Then the app shows me this blog contradicting itself. I have no idea what to trust in my allowances now.

  • I absolutely agree with this post. I think we need to put an end to the farce that everytime we read or hear the word “fat” it’s not healthy anymore. “Good fats” like the ones mentioned above can definitely help us in losing the “bad fats” we stored in our body. Chia and flax seeds help too!

  • Got The Message

    As a fitness and nutrition journalist I thank you for this great article. If I received a dollar for every media outlet that released information related to “blaming fat for all of life’s ails,” I would be a very rich man. It is crucial to inform as many people as possible about the differences between good fats and bad fats. Plus the examples of the healthy fats you mentioned were very helpful.