In this article, I will show you 6 healthy fats that belong in a healthy diet.
The demonization of dietary fat is still present in the nutrition world, but it is slowly beginning to ease. People are recognizing that foods high in fat can be good for you.
One of the very biggest nutrition pitfalls people make is fearing healthy fat.
Avoiding fat causes a variety of problems, which isn’t surprising: fat is essential to our health.
So, let’s get started and look at some healthy fats to include in our diet.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The health properties of extra virgin olive oil need no introduction.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or EVOO as commonly known, has been lauded for its ‘heart healthy’ properties.
The predominant fat in olive oil is called Oleic Acid, a monounsaturated fat. Highly resistant to oxidation, Oleic Acid helps protect the body against oxidative stress and free radical damage.
Olive oil is also jam-packed with various antioxidants and polyphenols that help guard our body against damage.
How can you use Olive Oil?
Try making a salad using leafy greens, your favorite vegetables, smoked salmon, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.
It’s good for you – and it tastes great too.
Maybe you are wondering if you read that right. Did it really say lard?
Actually – yes. Lard from pasture-raised animals is one of the healthiest fats you can use.
A little fact: you know how the predominant fat in olive oil – Oleic Acid – is “heart healthy”?
Well, Oleic Acid is the principal fat in lard too.
It makes you wonder; why do people call olive oil “heart healthy” but call lard “artery-clogging”?
In truth, they are both natural sources of fat and promotive of good health, and it’s the manufactured fats made in a factory that you ought to avoid.
How can you use lard?
I recommend putting some lard in a cast iron pan and then sauteing some vegetables in it.
There are two great reasons why:
- Vegetables cooked in fat taste delicious.
- Eating vegetables with a source of fat helps your body digest the fat-soluble vitamins in the produce.
3 . Avocado
I heard a story that avocados first came into the English language when they were discovered by an Englishman exploring the Americas. The word wasn’t avocado, though – it was ‘crocodile pear’.
And although they may look hard and tough on the exterior, avocados are soft and delicious on the inside.
As more and more people realize how important dietary fat is to our health, they are fast gaining in popularity too.
Packed full of fiber, healthy fats and an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, there are several reasons to eat one every day.
How can you use avocados?
Eaten straight with a little salt tastes great, or you could make guacamole and serve it as a side-dish with your dinner.
Both options have the same health properties and the same great avocado taste.
4 . Macadamia Nuts
The king of nuts – once you try macadamia, it’s hard to go back to anything else. A crunchy but smooth, soft taste on the inside – it’s hard to describe but, trust me, macadamias taste delicious.
They’re high in taste and high in nutrients too.
Macadamia nuts are extremely high in calories and fat. On a per 100g basis, they contain approximately 720 calories and 76g fat.
But don’t fear – it’s healthy fat.
In fact, there is a range of studies that support macadamia nuts as reducing cardiovascular risk factors.
How can you use macadamia nuts?
Just eat a handful as part of a meal, or after the meal.
Or if you want to be a little more creative, you could melt a bar of dark chocolate (another healthy fat!) and then coat the macadamias in the melted chocolate. Following this, put the chocolate-coated macadamias in the fridge for the chocolate to cool.
5. Whole Milk
The low-fat craze brought us skim milk – something that I bought into in my younger days, unfortunately.
The problem with skim milk is that it tastes like weak-milk-flavored water, and the truth is: it’s not even good for our health.
Whole milk is and always was a much better nutritional choice. The evidence is piling up in support of this by the day, and one recent study found that people who drink whole milk have a lower rate of diabetes than those drinking skim milk.
This shouldn’t be surprising: skim milk, processed to remove all the fat, has nothing left but lactose sugar.
Whole milk, on the other hand, contains all its healthy dairy fat, and this also means that you absorb more fat-soluble vitamins that are in the milk.
How can you use whole milk?
There are so many ways you can use whole milk. Here are a few ideas if you are short on inspiration:
- Just a straightforward cold glass of milk.
- Make an ice coffee/tea latte.
- Heat some milk, mix some cacao powder in and add your natural sweetener of choice. Healthy hot chocolate.
6. Dark Chocolate
The words “sweet” and “chocolate” often go together – at least, if you’re talking about milk chocolate.
Dark chocolate, however, is a whole other ball game. Presuming you have a quality bar, the taste should be slightly bitter with a hint of sweetness and fruity flavors.
Checking the label is always necessary for dark chocolate too. A bar that has 85% cacao content will have minimal amounts of sugar, perhaps 3 or 4 grams per ounce.
Some brands class their 40% cacao bar as ‘dark’ – these are not genuine dark chocolate as the predominant ingredient is sugar.
There are many reasons to include dark chocolate in your diet. It contains a plethora of heart-protective antioxidants, leads to reduced insulin resistance, and has several other significant health benefits.
How can you use dark chocolate?
Next time you watch a movie, how about making a healthy platter of finger foods?
This can be a simple and enjoyable meal that requires minimal time investment – and it’s much better than munching on potato chips and beer like most people do!
Some ideas of food you could include:
- Dark chocolate
- Pieces of cheese
- Sliced avocado
- Cherry tomatoes
- Prosciutto or salami
And you may have noticed that, except for the cherry tomatoes, those foods are all high in healthy fat!
Which one of the six healthy fats is your favorite?