You’ll regret avoiding these heart-healthy fats.
If you lived through the low-fat craze of the 1980s and ‘90s, you were probably at least a little perplexed the first time you heard the phrase, “Yeah, but avocados are the good kind of fat.”
Nutrition gurus now know that not all fats are created equal. Good fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—can help lower your cholesterol levels, as well as your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Diabetes Association. (Learn more about the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats here.)
But that’s not all. Good fats can also provide energy and help you absorb vitamins and minerals from other foods. Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat, support brain development and function. (Here are the best sources of omega-3s to eat more of.)
If you want to include healthy fats in your diet but don’t know exactly where to start, try these seven foods.
Olives and olive oil: Use olive oil for vinaigrettes, dipping bread, and cooking.
Nuts and nut butters, especially cashews, peanuts, and walnuts: Add to salads or sprinkle on oatmeal.
Avocado: It’s great on toast, chili, and—well—just about anything.
Edamame and other soy products, like tempeh and tofu: Try this recipe for jerk tempeh tacos.
Fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. For maximum health benefits, the EPA and FDA recommend two to three servings of a variety of fish a week.
Seeds, like sunflower, sesame, or flax seeds, and seed butters, like sunflower seed butter or tahini. Try these in granola or on top of avocado toast, or use tahini to make a homemade salad dressing. (Learn how to make lemon-tahini vinaigrette here.)
Oils made from seeds and nuts, like peanut, walnut, or flaxseed oil. Peanut oil has a very high smoke point, so it’s great for sauteing veggies.
2017 EPA-FDA advice about eating fish and shellfish. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2017. (Accessed on October 24, 2017 at https://www.epa.gov/fish-tech/2017-epa-fda-advice-about-eating-fish-and-shellfish.)
Chang CY, Ke DS, Chen JY. Essential fatty acids and human brain. Acta Neurol Taiwan. 2009 Dec;18(4):231-41.
Choose healthy fats. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017. (Accessed on October 24, 2017 at http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/choose-healthy-fats.)
Fats. Arlington, VA: American Diabetes Association, 2015. (Accessed on October 24, 2017 at http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/fats-and-diabetes.html.)
The truth about fats: The good, the bad, and the in-between. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Health Publishing, 2017. (Accessed on October 24, 2017 at https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good.)