We don’t have to tell you what a disaster the low-fat craze was. We all stopped eating many of our favorite foods thinking they were bad for us (welcome back, eggs and dark chocolate!) and ended up overweight, overly full of refined carbs, and sick. In the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, for the first time in 35 years, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services removed the limit on total fat consumption in the American diet (though they still recommend getting less than 10% of daily calories from saturated fat). In their words, evidence clearly shows that eating more foods rich in healthful fats like nuts, vegetable oils, and fish have protective effects, particularly for cardiovascular disease. They also help you absorb a host of vitamins, fill you up so you eat less, and taste good, too. Here are 13 healthy high fat foods to stock up on to celebrate.
Types of fat
Fat comes in many forms, including:
Unsaturated: Liquid at room temperature and generally considered heart healthy. Found in plants like nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and seafood. Saturated: Solid at room temperature and found in animal foods, like meat and butter, as well as coconut and palm oil. Often deemed unhealthy for your heart, but research is equivocal. “Some sources are actually good for us,” says Brianna Elliott, RD, a nutritionist based in St. Paul, Minn. Trans: Liquid fats made solid through a process called hydrogenation. Found in fried foods, baked goods, and processed snack foods. These heart-health wreckers were banned from the food supply in 2015. They’ll be gone by 2018.
“What really matters is where the source of fat is coming from. The fats found in processed junk foods and store-bought baked goods aren’t so good for us, while fat from more natural foods like avocados, grass-fed beef, and olives can be beneficial” says Elliott.
Olive oil is the original healthy fat. A tall body of research finds that it helps lower your risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Most recently, Spanish researchers publishing in the journal Molecules reported that the various components of olive oil including oleic acid and secoiridoids protect your body on the cellular level to slow the aging process. “To get the most health benefits, choose extra-virgin olive oil, as it is extracted using natural methods and doesn’t go through as much processing before it reaches your plate,” says Elliott. Research shows that veggies sautéed in olive oil are also richer in antioxidants than boiled ones—and they taste better too! Don’t go crazy though. All fats are relatively high in calories and 1 tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories.