Most of us are conditioned to avoid fat in our diet because all fats are bad for our body, right? Well, on the contrary, there are GOOD fats, and we need to eat them. The term, “healthy fats” is not an oxymoron, and it refers to monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. They offer heart-health benefits, reduce LDL (aka bad) cholesterol, and decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes by regulating insulin and blood sugar levels.
What are some of the best food source of healthy fats? We listed some of them out for you below.
A medium-sized avocado has about 23g of fats, most of them being monosaturated fat. It also contains 40% of your daily fibre needs, sodium- and cholesterol-free, and protects your vision with lutein, an anti-oxidant. The only drawback is its high calories, so try not to take more than 1/4 of an avocado at a time! You can enjoy avocado on its own, or mix it with your sandwich or salad.
2. Walnuts and other nuts in general
Walnuts are one of the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. One study has shown that taking a handful of walnuts every day can lower total cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol. It also improves blood vessel function. Other researches have also reflected that eating nuts, in general, helps to reduce the risk of blood clots that cause heart attacks as well as to improve the lining of our arteries. You can enjoy walnuts or other nuts as a snack or during your tea break.
3. Nut and Seed Butters
If you do not like whole nuts, opt to go for nut and seed butter instead to get your healthy fats without going through torture. Choose an almond, cashew or sunflower seed butter and replace it with your regular butter. Spread it on your toast, and enjoy the flavours that the butter offers. Try to find one that is natural and has as few ingredients as possible.
Olives have monosaturated fats and are perfect as a snack. Olives have more benefits than just a healthy fat source though. It is also linked to cancer prevention, reducing bone loss and acting as anti-histamines on the cellular level for those with allergies or other inflammatory conditions. The only thing you need to look out for is the serving size as it is high in sodium. Stick to 5 large olives or 10 small olives, and you should be fine!
5. Salmon and other oily fish
Salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout are oily fish full of omega-3 fatty acids. They are known to boost heart health and get the required healthy fats. It is also one of the best and easiest way to get the essential fats for your body. It is recommended that you take two servings every week to get the best results.
What are unhealthy (bad) fats?
Now that we know what healthy fats are and where to get them, let us talk a little about unhealthy fats. Trans fat is the most unhealthy fats as most of them are artificial. You can spot them easily on the labels as “partially-hydrogenated oil”. Trans fats increase your LDL cholesterol and lower the HDL (good) cholesterol. It also increases the risk of heart diseases, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
Saturated fats, on the other hand, is somewhat of a touchy subject. Old research labelled it as a bad fat as it lowers HDL cholesterols, but newer information appears to suggest that it has a more neutral effect. Nonetheless, it is better to limit your intake of saturated fat and opt for monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead.
Unhealthy fats can cause heart diseases like heart attacks, stroke and other heart-health problems. It also increases LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. Weight gain is also another issue which, when combined with the above problems, will increase the risk of severe Type two diabetes.