The word ‘fat’ has become a word hated by many. Whether it’s in regards to the physical appearance of someone or what a certain food contains, it’s a word people generally like to avoid. While many of us think we have a great understanding of why we shouldn’t be eating fat or physically appearing to be fat, we’re missing out on a whole food group, crucial to our health. Here are some of the healthiest fats that everyone should add to their diets.
This green fruit is most commonly used to make guacamole, but has so many other uses. With 30 grams of unsaturated fat and around 16 being monounsaturated, you only need to consume one quarter of an avocado to get the optimal lycopene, beta-carotene and other antioxidant absorption. Use avocados to replace mayo on a sandwich, slice it on top of your salad or even mix it with pasta for a creamy dressing.
Known as the healthiest oil you can buy, olive oil offers a generous amount of health benefits. With just one third of a teaspoon, you’ll be getting 3.3 grams of monounsaturated fats as well as polyphenols and vitamin E. Olive oil is so varietal, you can use it as a salad dressing, drizzle it on some tomatoes and mozzarella or even use it to saute vegetables with.
It’s no surprise that olives are right after olive oil on our list. These salty snacks are filled with around 400 milligrams of sodium per 10 olives, but they also offer 3.5 grams of monounsaturated fat for that same serving. Olives are a great side, as an appetizer or chopped up in a salad. Don’t forget, you can also get these on your pizza next time you’re having a “cheat” day!
Cashews are known for being the salty snack at the bar or in a bowl for guests at a holiday party. What a lot of people don’t know about cashews is that they’re packed with monounsaturated fats and a healthy dose of magnesium and phosphorous, all essential to good bone health. Additionally, this nut has tryphtophan, which is said to help regular sleep cycles and enhance mood. Sprinkle these on a salad, chop them up in pasta or eat them by themselves.
Cheese has always been a no no when it comes to avoiding fat, but the times are changing. By using fresh and unprocessed cheese, there are a slew of health benefits you never could have imagined! For example, in just one third of a cup of whole-milk ricotta, there are three grams of monounsaturated fats. You could even cut the fat with a half cup of part-skim ricotta. Fresh ricotta is great on pizza, mixed with herbs on a salad or baked in a lasagna.
These medium sized nuts are extremely powerful. If you’re looking to reach a goal of consuming three grams of monounsaturated fats per day, look no further. You only need two macadamia nuts to reach that goal. That’s only a fifth of an ounce! Macadamia nuts can be eaten whole or chopped. They’re also a great addition to cookies!
Just because olive oil reigns supreme, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other healthy oils still available. While olive oil packs the most nutrients, canola oil, peanut oil and even sunflower oil all contain monounsaturated fat. You can achieve your goal of 3 grams with one third of a tablespoon of canola oil, half a tablespoon of peanut oil and just over a tablespoon of sunflower oil. These can be drizzled on a salad or mixed with vinegar for a great dressing.
Don’t let the word ‘fat’ discourage you from making healthy choices. All of the foods mentioned above have incredible health benefits and are readily available in grocery stores. So what are you waiting for? Go join the healthy fat movement and enjoy these foods today!
Annie Williams is a freelance writer and health advocate. She follows a healthy and whole lifestyle by taking her vitamins and supplements from bariatric advantage. She hopes to continue on her path of healthy living and to inspire others to join her.