We've heard it before – fatty foods are bad; they'll make a person fat and cause heart disease. But research is finding that this is not entirely true. Since the inception of the low-fat diet craze in the 1980's, obesity, diabetes and heart disease statistics have shown that the low-fat diet trend has not been entirely helpful, leading researchers to look more closely at dietary fats. What they've found is that there are some types of fats that are actually good. If you’re interested in dietary fats that can be beneficial to your health, here are 10 fatty foods that can actually be considered healthy. You should also check out Dietary Fats: Separating The Bad From The Good.
Avocadoes are indeed a high fat food, but they contain the good-for-you monounsaturated fat, which helps lower cholesterol while helping people to feel full. Avocados contain something called oleic acid, which triggers a hormone that suppresses hunger. While eating too much will still cause unpleasant side effects like diarrhea and weight gain, avocadoes are a great substitute for unhealthy, fatty foods and spreads such as mayonnaise.
While it's true that grass-fed beef is a bit pricy and can be difficult to find in some supermarkets, the amount of good fat in this type of beef can't be ignored. According to a study in Nutrition Journal, grass-fed beef contains higher amounts of the heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids than conventional beef does. It is also lower in calories and saturated fat, which is what makes beef a no-no in the first place. So while it is higher in price, the extra cost may be well worth it. To learn more about the benefits of grass-fed meat, see The Nutritional Benefits Of Grass-Fed Meat.
For years we have all heard about how bad eggs were. They were strictly off limits to those with high cholesterol, and while they do contain a significant amount of cholesterol, researchers have found that eggs are not as bad as once thought. Researchers and nutrition experts have discovered that in addition to being one of the most inexpensive forms of protein available, they are also fairly nutrient dense and contain vital antioxidants that are essential for brain function. It is for this reason that pregnant women in particular are being encouraged to eat eggs, as research suggests that the baby gets these brain boosting benefits as well.
Coconut has had a bad reputation for years for being high in saturated fat, yet most of the saturated fat in coconut and its oil is lauric acid, which has been shown to help people lose weight, in addition to having a number of other beneficial properties, such as lowering cholesterol and fighting off bacterial infections. Coconut oil can be used for cooking or taken as a daily supplement, while coconut can be added to a variety of dishes.
This staple of middle eastern and Mediterranean cuisine is quickly earning a reputation for being a good fat. The reason is because olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fats, meaning that it is heart healthy. A study in obesity also found that olive oil also increased levels of adiponectin, one of the hormones responsible for breaking down fats in the body. The study found that the higher levels of adiponectin that people have in their bodies, the lower their body mass index will be.
Fish can be very high in fat, but like avocadoes and grass-fed beef, it is good fat. Fish is one of the best sources of omega fatty acids, making it great for heart health. In addition, it is relatively low in saturated fat and calories, which means it will also help keep waistlines from bulging. Wild caught fish tends to be better than farm raised, but care should be used when eating wild caught fish, as certain types have been shown to be higher in mercury. For this reason experts recommend eating no more than two servings of those types of fish per week, both other wild caught fish is fine to eat more often.
Chocoholics rejoice! Dark chocolate, although high in fat, can actually be healthy in moderation. Dark chocolate contains higher levels of cocoa butter than milk chocolate, which means it contains higher levels of stearic acid, a healthy fat that has been shown to help people lose weight. Because stearic acid slows digestion it helps people feel fuller longer. One study found that by eating a small amount of dark chocolate before a meal people consumed significantly fewer calories.
When it comes to butter versus margarine, margarine wins hands down. But not all margarine is created equal. While all margarine is made from vegetable oil and is significantly lower in saturated fat than butter, stick margarine usually contains trans fat, the substance that makes it solid enough to hold its stick form. This same substance also does bad things for heart health. So the better choice is tub margarine that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol free and tastes good. Some spreads are even made from olive oil or yogurt, both of which are healthy.
Almond butter has been used as an alternative to peanut butter for years for those who have peanut allergies, but research is finding that almond butter, along with almonds and other types of tree nuts, contain monounsaturated fats, the kind that is good for the heart. In addition, almonds contain a substance that limits the amount of fat absorbed by the body. While it's true that over indulging in the almond butter sandwiches will still cause weight gain, almond butter is an excellent snack that is loaded with protein in addition to monounsaturated fats.
While cheese can be high in fat, it's also loaded with a number of beneficial nutrients that the body needs. It's an excellent source of calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals. When possible, it's best to opt for low-fat cheeses as these are made with low-fat milk. Another benefit of cheese? Healthy teeth. Cheese has been shown to help keep teeth clean and free of cavities in addition to fighting bacteria in the mouth.
These 10 foods are easy to add to a person's diet and will help reap many health benefits, including better heart health. And with heart disease being the leading cause of death in this country, that's something everyone can appreciate.