Over recent years, fat has been demonized and consumption of fat has been falsely attributed to weight gain. In actuality, the body requires fat for a number of different reasons including energy provision, absorption and transport of nutrients, protection of vital organs and promotion of overall health. Failing to consume enough fat through your diet can cause a whole host of problems such as low blood sugar, dizziness, increased cravings, low energy and poor skin health.
While it is clear that consuming an adequate amount of fat through our diet is important, it’s equally essential to recognize that different types of fat exist. You may have heard fats be categorized into either “good” and “bad”. Unsaturated fats (poly or monounsaturated) are good for the body and can help to lower cholesterol levels thus promoting heart and overall health. Saturated and trans fats are the “bad” fats which can cause an increase in cholesterol in the body. This can lead to the development of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, hypertension and can even cause partial or full blockage of an artery thus triggering a stroke or heart attack.
Advice is clear, to reduce the risk of developing health conditions, it is recommend to avoid consuming a high amount of saturated fats and stick to products high in unsaturated fats.
Now that we understand that not all fat is bad, here are 7 high fat foods that are good for you and that can help to promote your health…
Of course it was going to be top of the list. Avocados are a fruit which are not only very high in unsaturated fats (20g of monounsaturated fat) but are also packed full of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. The body requires vitamins and mineral for a variety of different bodily functions while the fiber will facilitate digestion.
Because the yolk of an egg is high in cholesterol, many fear that consuming too many eggs will negatively impact their cholesterol levels and potentially lead to health issues. However, there is no reason to be concerned. There are there are two types of cholesterol to be aware of – high density and low density lipoproteins. Recent studies have shown that eating eggs increases the levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL) in the body, not the “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are fatty acids which are vital for life. The body cannot synthesize these acids by itself and therefore they must be consumed through one’s diet. If we fail to do this, deterioration of tissues and cells may occur. Oily fish is a high quality source of omega-3 (an EFA) and it is recommended to consume 1-2 portions of oily fish per week.
Depending on the type of nut you eat, you will consume a great amount of either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat. An additional benefit of consuming nuts is that they are very high in protein, as well as healthy fat.
In a similar vein, seeds are another excellent source of plant-based fat and protein. Seeds are an excellent choice for a healthy snack as they provide a vast array of vitamins, mineral, antioxidants and fiber.
Continuing with the plant theme, a large variety of beans exist which are also high in good fats to promote health. Additionally, beans are a superb protein substitute for the vegetarian and vegan.
Oil is another example of a product that has unjustly gained a bad reputation. Oils from seeds, plants and fruits such as flaxseed, coconut and olives are extremely high in healthy fats (both poly and monounsaturated).
The EFA, Omega-3 was mentioned earlier in the article; there is however another EFA known as Omega-6 which can be found in many different types of nut, seed, bean and oil. Another reason to ensure you are incorporating some plant based products into your diet.
In closing, here are a few examples of products to avoid or limit due to their high concentrations of saturated / trans fats:
Fatty cuts of meat, processed foods, baked goods, some dairy products and deep-fried food.