8 Fatty Foods That Are Actually Good For Your Body
Fats from food are classified into saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. Both saturated and trans fat are considered not healthy because of their dangerous effect on the heart. However, unsaturated fat are not just healthy but essential for the body. Unsaturated fats are found in plants like nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and seafood.
Most people refer to fish as “brain food.” That’s because these swimmers are brimming with omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function, says Elliot. “Your brain is made up of mostly fat, so you need to consume them in order to stay sharp and healthy,” she says. The new Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 8 ounces per week to get healthy amounts of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), all of which feed your brain and fight inflammation and chronic disease.
Avocados do more than provide the keystone ingredient for amazing guac. They also help lower inflammation, which is linked to cardiovascular disease. In a 2014 study, a team of Mexican researchers fed a group of rats too much sugar, which gave them symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including high blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides. They then fed the rats avocado oil, which lowered levels of triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol in their blood, while keeping protective HDL cholesterol levels intact. “You need to consume healthy fats in order for your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K—pair them with a salad so you can reap the benefits of all those veggies!” says Elliot. Keep your overall calorie intake in mind; one avocado is about 320 calories. An easy way to get a good dose is with avocado toast, which can work as a complete breakfast, snack, lunch or even an easy dinner.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines lifted the longstanding hard limit on cholesterol, as many researchers now believe the cholesterol you eat doesn’t have that much bearing on the amount of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol floating in your bloodstream, and that saturated fat (like fatty meats) and genetic makeup are the real driving force behind dangerously high cholesterol. That’s good news, since research finds that eating eggs in the morning can help you feel full and satisfied longer, making it easier to resist those pastries in your office pantry. “Eggs from hens that are raised on pastures or fed omega-3 enriched feed tend to be higher in omega-3s,” says Elliot.
Those PB&J’s your mom put in your lunch bag (and maybe you put in your own kid’s now) are also really good for you. In a 2013 study published in Breast Cancer Research Treatment and funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, girls who regularly ate peanut butter between the ages of 9 and 15 were 39% less likely to develop benign breast disease by age 30. Today, you can buy nut butters of all kinds including almond, cashew, and more. “The healthy fats in nut butters can help to keep you full and satisfied,” says Elliot. “Just make sure that the nut is the only ingredient listed (along with salt with some brands). Avoid those that have added sugars or vegetable oils.”