Why You Should Eat More of These 10 Healthy Foods High in Fat

One of the biggest tragedies of modern food marketing is this perpetuated idea that “low fat” and “fat free” products are better for you. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: most people could benefit from eating more fat.

You see, food manufacturers take out fat, a naturally-occurring substance, and replace it with artificial fillers, chemicals, and preservatives that are often worse for you. Here’s one example of many. Take a look at the two labels for Breakstone Sour Cream:

The full fat version has “milk, cream, and natural enzymes” listed as the ingredients. The fat free version has “milk, dried corn syrup, food starch, cream, maltodextrin, artificial color, xanthan gum, natural flavor, and vitamin A palmitate.” Yes, the full fat version has 60 calories per serving and the fat free version has 30. But I’ll take the extra 30 calories for a much better tasting sour cream with only a couple all-natural ingredients that I can actually pronounce.

But the more fat I eat, the fatter I’ll get,” you may be saying.

False.

One study found that a high fat, low carb diet can actually lower your triglycerides (fat in your blood), LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, and increase the level of HDL cholesterol (the good type of cholesterol you want to be higher). Another analysis of several studies found that low fat diets were no more effective for weight loss than higher fat, lower carb diets.

Don’t mistake this to mean I advocate making cheese a primary food group in your diet.

The right types of fat are crucial.

So let’s look at 10 healthy foods high in fat that you should be eating more of.

Avocados

healthy fats - avocadoAvocados are fruits that are low in sugar and high in heart healthy monounsaturated fats and dietary fiber. They’re also a great source of vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K1, folate, vitamin B-6, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, choline, lutein/zeaxanthin, phytosterols. The health benefits of avocados are well documented: they’re great for your heart, skin, osteoarthritis, eye health, and weight management.

Looking for a quick and easy avocado recipe? Try my homemade guacamole.

Salmon

healthy foods high in fat - salmonWild salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s loaded with lean muscle-building protein and good-for-you fats. Eating fatty fish like salmon is great for your heart and can significantly reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer.

This simple salmon recipe is one of my favorites.

Nuts, nut butters, and seeds

monounsaturated fats in nutsNuts and seeds are high in fiber, vitamin E, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Pick up a bag of almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds and eat a couple palmfuls each day for a healthy, filling snack. Or grab a jar of peanut butter or almond butter and eat a Tablespoon or two with apple or celery slices. One caveat here though: stick with unsalted, raw nuts because food companies like to sneak in a lot of salt, which can negate many of the health benefits.

Olive oil

healthy good fatsPeople from the Mediterranean region who eat diets high in olive oil have longer life expectancies and lower risks of heart problems compared to North Americans and Northern Europeans.

Replace your soybean- and corn-oil filled dressings from the store with your own homemade olive oil-based dressings.

Coconut oil

healthy saturated fatCoconut oil has gotten a bad rap in the past because it’s high in saturated fat, which has been shown to increase heart problems in some research studies (other studies show no correlation between saturated fat and negative health effects).

Despite the confusion about whether or not saturated fat is bad for you, one thing is certain: coconut oil actually contains a healthier type of saturated fat called lauric acid.  Use coconut oil as a cooking oil to sear meats and vegetables. Coconut oil has plenty of healthy uses aside from cooking too.

Grass fed beef

grass fed beefGrass fed or “pasture-raised” beef comes from cows that roam freely and graze on the food they’re biologically programmed to eat: grass. On the other hand, most beef you get at the average grocery store comes from cows that are confined to feedlots and tight cages, where they’re pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones so they fatten up faster for slaughter. Not the mental image you wanted when you’re eating that burger, I know. But not only is grass fed beef more humane to the animal, it’s healthier for you. And by “healthier”, I mean it’s lower in unhealthy fats but contains higher levels of healthy fats.

Here’s a bunless grass fed beef burger recipe with just 214 calories.

Turkey thighs

source of healthy fatsDark poultry meat is cheaper and tastier than white meat and it contains beneficial fats. Three ounces of roasted, skinless, dark turkey meat from¬† drumstick has 135 calories, 3 grams of fat and 1 gram of saturated fat. That’s pretty solid.

Here’s one of my favorite chicken thighs recipes.

Eggs

eggs health benefitsWhole eggs have more essential vitamins and minerals per calorie than almost any other food, says Men’s Health magazine. Yes, eggs are high in cholesterol. But here’s the kicker: research shows dietary cholesterol from eggs does NOT raise your blood cholesterol levels. Translation: you can eat an egg or two a day and not worry about your cholesterol levels rising.

Try this healthy egg sandwich (bonus: it has avocado!).

Dark chocolate

cocoa health benefitsDark chocolate contains a healthy type of saturated fat called stearic acid as well as a healthy monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. Cocoa and dark chocolate are arguably the healthiest “sweet treat” you can eat. They have tons of health benefits. Here are a few, according to research:

  • Reduce risk for diabetes.
  • Increase immunity.
  • Protect nerves from injury and inflammation.
  • Protect the skin from oxidative damage from UV radiation.
  • Help you feel more full.
  • Improve your cognitive function and mood.

Grass fed butter

grass fed butterSo you already know the benefits of grass fed beef (see above). Same goes for grass fed butter. It’s higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, CLA (another “good fat“), and vitamins A, K, D, and E.

Here’s another fact about butter you may not know: in the early 1900’s the average person ate 18 pounds of butter per year … and heart disease rates were below 10 percent. After the low-fat craze during the 1990s, average butter consumption bottomed out at only 4 pounds per year by the year 2000. And what were heart disease rates? 40-45 percent! Clearly butter is not the culprit here.

So don’t be afraid to eat real butter in moderation. And remember, grass fed is better.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely add some of the foods to my daily meals.

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