Healthy fats are essential to include in our diet and there are a huge range of high-fat foods that are really good for us.
So, what are some healthy high-fat foods and how should we include them?
What are healthy fats?
In most cases we should focus on including foods that contain predominantly ‘good’ fats. ‘Good’ fats are unsaturated and have been shown to lower disease risk.
Most importantly, we should choose foods that are made up of mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Furthermore, to reduce inflammation, include more monounsaturated than polyunsaturated fats.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes. There are some foods that contain a higher level of saturated than unsaturated fat but have still been shown to have very positive health benefits. In these cases, it is the combination of nutrients that results in health benefits.
As such, it is always more important to consider the food as a whole before focusing on individual nutrients.
11 high-fat foods that are super healthy.
1. Chia seeds
Chia seeds contain 30g of fat per 100g. These seeds are high in plant-based Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats.
There is a significant amount of research that shows the benefits of Omega-3 healthy fats on our heart health and in the prevention of heart disease.
Chia seeds also provide additional fibre, protein, calcium, zinc and phosphorous.
❝ Use chia seeds to top your salads or cereal and add them to smoothies, healthy muffin or home made bar recipes.
2. Linseeds (AKA Flaxseeds)
Linseeds contain 42g of fat per 100g. In terms of type of fat and other nutrients, their nutritional profile very similar to that of chia seeds. So, see above.
❝Like chia seeds, linseeds are also great on top of cereals and add texture to grainy salads.
Avocado contains 13g of fat per 100g. The majority of this fat is monounsaturated.
Not only do you get healthy fats from avocado, they provide a huge range of nutrients including fibre, vitamins C, E, K and a number of B vitamins.
❝Avocados are extremely versatile. Not only can you add them to salads, toast and sandwiches but you can use them as a dip or a substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream.
Total fat in salmon is approximately 17g per 100g of raw fish.
Salmon is one of a number of oily fish available that are high in polyunsaturated Omega-3 fats.
As a result, salmon has anti-inflammatory and heart protective benefits.
Oily fish such as salmon are also rich in Vitamin E which prevents damage to cell membranes including skin cells, therefore helping you look fresh.
Additional types of oily fish that are good to eat are herring, mackerel, trout and sardines.
❝Oily fish can be included at any meal of the day. Eat the whole fillet or add it flaked to salads, risottos, pasta dishes, pies, fish cakes or patties.
The majority of fat in cheese is saturated, however the latest research shows that if you eat cheese in moderation (up to 40g per day) it will not hinder weight loss and it may be protective against heart disease and high blood pressure.
Regular full fat cheese contains approximately 24g of fat per 100g.
❝Provided it is in moderation, eat cheese however you prefer it. You’re welcome!
7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the easiest ways to consume healthy monounsaturated fat.
This oil is superior to others because it reduces inflammation, protects against heart disease, contains a high level of antioxidants and it may reduce the risk of other diseases including Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Finally, like all oils, the majority of extra virgin olive oil is fat, containing 92g of fat per 100ml of oil.
❝Extra virgin olive oil is safe to use in cooking. As such, use it as the main source of fat in all of your cooked and uncooked dishes. Combine it with lemon juice, salt and pepper for an easy and delicious salad dressing.
8. Avocado oil
Avocado oil is not as well researched as extra virgin olive oil however it has similar nutritional properties.
Specifically, avocado oil contains mostly monounsaturated fats, is extremely rich in antioxidants and contains a similar amount of fat per 100ml.
❝Avocado oil has a strong flavour and lower smoke point that extra virgin olive oil. Therefore it is not as suitable for cooking. As such, combine avocado oil with balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper to make a tasty salad dressing.
‘What nuts are the healthiest’ is a very common question. However, eating a variety of nuts is more important than focusing on any particular type.
Just as eating a variety of fruit and vegetables is important for different nutrients, this is also true for nuts. Nuts usually contain between 50-60% fat depending on the type.
❝Nuts make a great healthy snack. The nuts highest in monounsaturated fats are almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans and pistachios.
10. Full fat plain yoghurt
Similar to cheese, full fat yoghurt contains higher saturated than unsaturated fat. However, the most up to date research now shows that even full fat yoghurt has health benefits.
The theory is that the combination of nutrients in full fat dairy results in positive health outcomes (ice cream not included).
Full fat yoghurt contains 4g of fat per 100g.
❝As well as making a very healthy snack, yoghurt is a great way to boost protein intake at breakfast.
One large 50g egg contains just over 4g of fat. Eggs are rich in many key nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E, and B12, antioxidants and choline.
In the past eggs and especially egg yolks have been avoided due to concerns about the cholesterol content.
There is now no maximum limit on eggs for most people and eggs can be included as one of the regular protein foods eaten across the week.
People with type 2 diabetes and anyone requiring LDL-C lowering interventions should not consume more than 7 eggs per week due to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
❝ Eggs can be eaten at all meals. Omelettes and frittatas make extremely protein rich but also cheap meal options.