It can be hard to get everything you need into your daily diet. One thing that’s particularly difficult to understand is fats – especially healthy fats. For years and years, we’ve been encouraged to avoid high-fat foods, as they were blamed for weight gain and a variety of health issues. Now, we know that healthy fats are an essential part of a nutritious, balanced diet. So where can you find them?
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First up, fish. Oily fish like tuna, salmon, trout, herring, anchovies, sardines and mackerel are a great way to get a good dose of healthy fats. These fish are packed with the most important omega-3s, EPA and DHA. These fatty acids deliver great health benefits to your heart, lungs and brain. The way you prepare your fish is almost as important as the fish itself, so favour grilling or steaming over frying. It’s recommended that you aim for two portions per week, bearing in mind that fatty fish can be high in calories.
One of the most popular foods of the decade, avocados are renowned for their healthy fat content. Along with good fats, avocados are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre that will boost your diet. Just one 80g portion counts towards your five a day, which makes avocados stand out against other fatty foods. Of course, with good fats comes calorie density, which is why you don’t need a huge amount of avocado to enjoy the benefits.
Eggs are one of the most nutritionally complete foods. Egg yolks provide plenty of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, with a lesser amount of saturated fat, which is the type we need to look out for. Try to boil or poach your eggs more often than you fry or scramble. Or, if you prefer the latter, use a non-stick pan and less oil or butter. You could also opt for an omelette with one whole egg and two egg whites, so you’re not going too heavy on the unhealthy fat and cholesterol.
Nuts are another food type filled with healthy fats, protein, fibre and vitamins, including magnesium and vitamin E. Another great thing about nuts is that they’re a vegan protein source, so you can enjoy them no matter your diet preferences. Nuts can be enjoyed on their own as a snack or baked into sweet and savoury recipes, such as flapjacks or nut roasts.
As would be expected, nut butters also boast plenty of healthy fats. However, some nut butter brands use a lot of sugar. One of the healthiest nut butters is almond butter, which has seven grams of protein per two-tablespoon serving, as well as vitamin E, magnesium and calcium. If you prefer peanut butter, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s high in protein and iron, as well as healthy fats, which can help to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Certain types of yoghurt offer healthy fats but remember to read the label carefully. Low-fat options are not the healthiest because the fat is often replaced with sugar. Instead, opt for a 5% fat Greek yoghurt, which is nutritionally well-rounded as well as much tastier and creamier. All dairy products contain naturally occurring trans fats that are considered to have health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving blood sugar control.
Soy is a plant-based source of protein, as well as containing the essential polyunsaturated omega-3 fats. It comes in a variety of formats, including soy milk, tofu and tempeh. Soy can be used as a substitute for other foodstuffs, which works well for people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. They are a great source of different vitamins and minerals and a great option for a more balanced diet.
Seeds are a superfood, with flax seeds and chia seeds really stealing the show. Packed with healthy fats, they can be used in a number of different ways. Why not try sprinkling on soup or yoghurt, mixing it into smoothies and oats, or baking it into cakes and biscuits?
All of the foods we’ve mentioned are an excellent way to get more healthy fats into your daily diet. Be sure sure to try out some new recipes and enjoy!
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