“Fat” is not a word with a positive reputation. But like all bad boys, it can have its good points.
Incorporating healthy fats into your diet can actually help reduce health issues such as heart disease and believe it or not, can help reduce weight gain!
We’ve heard all about the virtues of a low-fat diet and the dangers of dietary fat and cholesterol. But with issues like obesity and high cholesterol on the rise, researchers have recently reviewed the low-fat trend.
Emerging research has shown that there is such a thing as healthy fat which can increase your good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol-think H for healthy) and decrease your bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol-think L for lousy).
Here are 10 tips for choosing healthy fats in your diet.
10 Tips for Healthy Fats
1. Choose plant-based oils over animal-based
Plant-based oils like olive oil or peanut oil will not contain cholesterol-like animal-based oils such as butter. There are a lot of nut oils you can experiment with to find your favorite flavors such as hazelnut, macadamia, and almond.
2. Add Avocados
These tasty fruits contain a range of heart-healthy fats 75% monounsaturated and 25% polyunsaturated. They are nutrient-dense, with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.
Healthy fat foods like avocados can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity while increasing energy and healthy skin and hair. Try these 53 avocado recipes!
3. Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
The important part of these really big words is mono which means 1 and poly which means more than 1. These fats are most easily used by your body for a range of important functions and are healthier for you than saturated fats like butter and lard.
Plus, they help you feel full, cutting cut down on unhealthy snacking and overeating. Peanut oil is a great example of monounsaturated fat to incorporate into your cooking. It increases healthy cholesterol in the body and is great for your skin and memory.
Start substituting with healthy fats such as peanut, sunflower, olive, almond or hazelnut oils
4. Add Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet to improve heart health
Salmon and other fatty fish are great sources as well as sunflower, soybean, walnut, and corn oils. Flaxseed is an excellent source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
It is easy to add to your diet daily. Sprinkle it on cereal, yogurt or oatmeal in the morning or add it to a smoothie.
5. Cook at home with healthy oils
Cooking at home using healthy oils can help you steer clear of artery-clogging trans fats. Healthy oils like peanut, olive and coconut oil give foods a rich flavor without the health dangers of trans fats.
Trans fats are found in store-bought cookies, cakes, and other packaged foods. They are created by pumping hydrogen molecules into a range of (usually cheap and unhealthy) oils to make them solid and therefore less likely to spoil.
An easy way to improve your diet is to avoid trans fats! They are damaging to your heart health and should not be eaten.
6. Add walnuts to your daily diet
Walnuts are a superfood, so they pack a healthy punch in more than one way. Try them in your oatmeal each morning or as a mid-afternoon snack.
Studies have shown that 8 walnuts a day can help lower your cholesterol naturally. A bowl of oatmeal made with quick oats, water and a dash of cinnamon can help lower it even more.
Start your day off the right way with a healthy fats breakfast of Greek yogurt, walnuts and honey
7. Add Greek-style yogurt to your diet
Yogurt is good for maintaining digestive health, adding immune system-boosting probiotics through its active cultures. Studies have also shown that eating yogurt can curb cravings and lead to weight loss. Did you know bee pollen can assist with weight loss too?
Greek-style yogurt has twice the protein as regular yogurt for the same number of calories and will also make you feel fuller for longer.
8. Eat eggs
A lot of people steer clear of eggs due to the cholesterol, but the diet is just one part of the cholesterol picture.
We can control our dietary intake of cholesterol to some extent, but skipping eggs can mean we are missing out on all of the protein and valuable nutrients packed into that one small shell, all for only about 70 to 90 calories.
Eggs will help you feel full for longer, making it much less likely that you will grab sugary foods due to nasty carb cravings.
9. Toss in some tofu
Soybeans have the highest amount of protein of any member of the bean family, with a low percentage of fat, making it an excellent substitute for meat in your cooking.
Some researchers express concern at eating too much soy, especially genetically modified soy. Look for organic tofu if you are concerned about GMO foods. You can also cook from scratch if you are worried about soy being added to many prepackaged foods.
10. Last but not least, our favorite tip: Choose chocolate!
Choose chocolate. Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids, such as 70% to 90%, has been shown to contain healthy fats and other disease-fighting nutrients.
One ounce a day of high-quality chocolate can satisfy your sweet tooth even as it improves your health. Avoid milk chocolate or white chocolate due to the large amounts of sugar and other added ingredients that dilute the heart-healthy cocoa solids. Try these 68 chocolate recipes.
Author Bio: I’m Cara Berkeley, a blogger, investment property owner, and full-time marketing executive. I’ve learned that thinking outside the box can make all the difference and want to share my tips and tricks on smart money management. My blog at www.pennypolly.com is all about helping you find new ways to save money, make money and have fun doing it!