Fat continues to be demonized by many sides, so let’s clear up some misconceptions. Unsaturated fats (aka good-for-you fats) should be eaten every. single. day. Healthy fats are vital for energy, cell formation and absorption of vitamins and minerals while also improving blood cholesterol levels and decreasing your risk for heart disease. Take that, diet industry.
Keep these 5 healthy fats in your kitchen at all times:
1. Avocados – Avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fat as well as fiber and antioxidants. Try using avocado in place of foods high in saturated fat like cheese, butter and sour cream. Avocado is creamy and delicious making this swap a no-brainer.
2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The OG of healthy cooking oils, olive oil has been around for ages and for good reason – olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Make sure you are using good quality extra virgin olive oil to get all of the health benefits. It should be dark in color and distinguished in taste.
3. Ground Flaxseed – Ground flaxseed is loaded with unsaturated fat and is also a good plant-based source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Toss into smoothies or on top of your morning oatmeal.
4. Walnuts – Walnuts have shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and maintain brain function while also reducing heart disease and cancer risk. Recent research has shown that walnuts impart these benefits by actually altering our gut microbiome, meaning their benefits may go beyond what researchers have previously thought.
5. Chia Seeds – These small seeds pack a major nutritional punch! Add just a tablespoon to your smoothie or combine with nut milk to make a delicious chia pudding for a healthy fat, fiber and protein filled boost.
By: Claire Schmitt, MS Candidate in Clinical Nutrition at NYU