Fat has an unfairly bad reputation: the body needs fats to function properly. What matters is what kind of fat we eat: Saturated fats are much unhealthier than monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. But which foods belong in the second category?
One of the main reasons we need to eat fat is that it provides some essential fatty acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own. According to current scientific knowledge, the intake of healthy fat can help us stay full longer, survive harsh living conditions, and even live longer.
So it is super important that healthy fats are on the menu. These five foods are great fat suppliers – and should be eaten more often.
Most people don’t think of oatmeal when they picture a high-fat meal. But one of the reasons breakfast keeps you full for a long time is that it contains more fat than most other grains — especially good mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
Oats are also helpful in providing the body with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals such as B6 and iron. Finally, the grain is a protein and calcium supplier.
Spirulina is an ancient species of blue-green seaweed that’s also been hyped as a superfood. It is often added to smoothies in a dark green powder.
Algae were a source of food long before the age of blenders began: the Aztecs dried and ate them in Mexico as early as the 17th century. The cyanobacteria are rich in protein and iron and contain amino acids and fat.
Just two tablespoons of spirulina have one gram of fat. That’s not as much as in an egg or a piece of meat, but it’s impressive for a small piece of seaweed.
Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, but it’s still recommended. About 50 percent of the fatty acid content in coconut oil comes from lauric acid, which is processed in the liver and used by the brain for energy instead of being stored as excess fat.
Coconut oil is a quick fill-up and the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) it contains help you burn more fat and lose weight. There is even evidence that the oil can help patients with breast and cervical cancer.
Nevertheless, coconut oil should be used sparingly, as nutrition experts warn. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health justifies this by saying that the health benefits of unsaturated fats and oils have been proven more than those of saturated ones.
All nuts are high-fat snacks and should be part of a balanced diet. A nut is still a bit ahead: the health benefits of walnuts are unique.
Walnuts contain an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is also found in flaxseed, soybeans, hemp, and chia seeds. It is one of two essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce (linoleic acid).
Like tofu, unripe soybeans — or edamame — are a great source of fat. They’re also high in fiber and protein and good for aging bones.
A single cup of cooked edamame will provide you with eight grams of fat, of which only one gram is saturated. The beans are also a good source of magnesium, potassium, and iron.