5 Delicious Sources of Healthy Fats

First of all—yes, there are healthy fats! These are primarily monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to be good for your heart and cardiovascular system and may reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Here are five delicious sources of those healthy fats:

Avocados

Avocado and fruit salad
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Avocados have a very high percentage of monounsaturated fat. And research has shown that these delicious additions to your diet are good for your heart health, too.

A recent study conducted with 45 overweight or obese participants found that eating one avocado per day lowered bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. Those who ate one avocado per day also had lower levels of other harmful cholesterol molecules as well as triglycerides.

Olive Oil

Different types of olive oil
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Olive oil is an example of a type of oil that contains monounsaturated fats, which help reduce bad cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

In a large research trial known as the PREDIMED study, intake of extra-virgin olive oil as a supplement to the Mediterranean diet was found to prevent cardiovascular disease. This confirmed decades of evidence on the health benefits of extra-virgin olive oil as part of a Mediterranean diet.

Canola Oil

Bottles
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Like olive oil, canola oil is at the top of the list for oils that contain healthy, monounsaturated fats. Due to its higher smoke point, canola oil is also easier to use for cooking than extra-virgin olive oil. So if you're looking for a sturdy, healthy cooking oil, this is the one for you.

Nuts

Assortment of nuts in walnut shell
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The PREDIMED study also found that the addition of tree nuts to a Mediterranean diet also prevented heart disease. Several different kinds of nuts have been found to have heart-healthy properties: almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios are just a few.

In addition to good fats, nuts contain fiber and plant-based protein, which are also important for your diet. And don’t forget about nut butters which are another delicious way to enjoy the health benefits of nuts.

Salmon

Salmon in a baking dish
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Salmon and other fatty fish, like trout, mackerel, and herring, are wonderful, high-protein sources of polyunsaturated fats. They are famously high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in less-healthy saturated fat, unlike other forms of animal protein (like red meat, which tends to have a high saturated fat content).

For most adults, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish, particularly fatty fish, at least twice a week.

Sources:

Wang L, Bordi PL, Fleming JA, et al. Effect of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on lipoprotein particle number, size and subclasses in overweight and obese adults: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Heart Assoc 2015;4:e001355.

Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvadó J, et al. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet. N Engl J Med 2013;368:1279-1290.

de Lorgeril M, Salen P, Martin JL, et al. Mediterranean diet, traditional risk factors, and the rate of cardiovascular complications after myocardial infarction: final report of the Lyon Diet Heart Study. Circulation 1999;99:779-785.

Bao Y, Han J, Hu, FB, et al. Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J Med 2013;369:2001-2011.

Tracy SW. History of medicine: something new under the sun? The Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular health. N Engl J Med 2013;368:1274-1276.

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