Fat is an essential nutrient that helps the body absorb nutrients to give your body energy and support cell function.
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” and it is generally found in avocado, fish, cheese, dark chocolate, etc. This is beneficial for heart health, lowering cholesterol, and overall health.
“Bad” fats, such as artificial trans fats and saturated fats, are commonly found in processed foods such as red meat, whole-fat dairy products, etc. Contrary to popular belief that fat is bad for your body, your body needs fat to function properly.
Fats That Are Considered As Healthy
Healthy fats are of two types: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
- Monounsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated fat is a type of dietary fat present in both plant foods and animal products. It is mostly found in foods including red meats, olive oil, and dairy products.
It may help you lose weight and reduce bad cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs) have an unsaturated double-carbon bond, this means it is usually liquid when at room temperature and turn solid when chilled.
- Polyunsaturated Fat
Polyunsaturated fats are a form of dietary fat that include brain-nourishing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential for nerve function, brain health, and muscle strength. It is mostly found in walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, fish, etc.
Fats Considered Unhealthy
The two main types of fats that are unhealthy and recommended to eat less are saturated fats and trans fats.
- Saturated Fats
Saturated fat is a type of dietary fat that is generally considered to be unhealthy. These fats are solid at room temperature.
The types of foods that contain saturated fats are butter, palm, and coconut oils, and cheese. Saturated fats may raise bad cholesterol in the body and may increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Trans Fats
Trans fat, also called trans-unsaturated fatty acids is a form of unsaturated fat that comes in both natural and artificial forms.
It is mainly found in processed foods such as frozen pizza, fried foods, cakes, peanut butter, etc. The consumption of food that contains trans fat might increase the chance of heart disease and stroke.
High-Fat Foods With Health Benefits
We have discussed the types of fat, and now here are some of the high-fat foods that offer significant health benefits.
- Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are a rich source of healthy fat and protein. It is filled with omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain function and heart health.
Other options for fatty fish include trout, black cod, mackerel, and herring. Research shows that the consumption of fatty fish may enhance cognitive function, regulate blood sugar levels, and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Although tofu contains both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, the fat content present in tofu is not as high when compared to other foods. It contains around 11 grams of fat, and most of the fat is beneficial for maintaining heart health.
A medium size of avocado may contain around 22 grams of fat. The type of fat present in avocados is unsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat. It is a good fat that helps to lower bad cholesterol, immune function, and weight management.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil is a liquid fat extracted from olives rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. A tablespoon of olive oil has 9.86 grams of monounsaturated fat, 1.42 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 1.86 grams of saturated fat. The presence of these fats helps to maintain a healthy heart.
Eggs are considered unhealthy because of the presence of high cholesterol and fat in the yolk however, recent studies have shown that this cholesterol in eggs does not affect the cholesterols in the blood negatively.
About 1.6 grams of fat present in eggs are saturated fat, and the rest is polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. These essential fats may support heart and brain health.
- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate with high cocoa content contains flavonoid antioxidants, which may provide cognitive and cardiovascular benefits.
It contains around 24.5 g of saturated fat. In addition to its healthy fat content, dark chocolate is also loaded with vitamin A, B, and E which helps to improve brain function and heart health while reducing inflammation.
Most people might be surprised to hear cheese is a healthy food, it is packed with calcium, protein, and fat along with vitamins A and B12.
Cheese contains around 6g of saturated fat that helps to fight off type-2 diabetes. Dairy fats in cheese contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which helps to ease inflammation and prevent heart disease, and obesity.
The high-fat foods listed above contain healthy fats that can improve heart and brain health. Incorporating such foods with healthy fats into the diet might be beneficial for maintaining overall health and wellness.