Butter, nuts, cheese, and meat are finally getting the good press they deserve after fat was unfairly (and inaccurately) blamed for the obesity epidemic, heart disease, and a host of other diet-related conditions.
Healthy fats are crucial for your organs, hormonal function, and physical and mental performance, and those who follow a high-fat, low-carb diet such as Atkins, the ketogenic diet or even the Mediterranean diet quickly notice the difference.
Not all fats are created equally though.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- The benefits of healthy fats
- The difference between healthy and unhealthy fat foods and how to spot them
- 24 different high-fat foods that you should work into your diet immediately.
The Benefits of Healthy Fats
Scientists are discovering more and more benefits of a diet full of quality, high-fat foods regularly, and more people are embracing healthy fats.
This is good news for public health. Fats benefit your skin and hair, brain health, and immune system. Your body needs a certain amount of fat from your diet to aid memory, hormone function and the absorption of certain nutrients.
Adding healthy fats to your meal adds flavor to food, slows down the digestion of carbohydrates (thereby reducing those blood sugar peaks and valleys that leave you exhausted after lunch) and creates a sense of fullness.
But those are the benefits of healthy fats. Some fats -- especially highly processed fats like vegetable oils -- do more harm than good. Here’s the difference.
Healthy Fats vs. Unhealthy Fats
Believe it or not, there are healthy fat foods that are high in both unsaturated and saturated fats. Saturated fats used to be under fire but we’re now understanding more about them and their nutritional properties.
Saturated fats are singled-bonded fats, meaning that they have only one bond between molecules, and those molecules are saturated with hydrogen. They’re usually solid at room temperature.
Healthy fat foods rich in saturated fat include:
- Cheese (hormone-free, grass-fed)
- Red meat such as crate-free pork and grass-fed beef
- Oils such as coconut oil, MCT oil, butter[*].
To spot unhealthy saturated fats, if it’s heavily processed, like vegetable oils, stay away.
Unsaturated fats are another type of quality fats you want to be incorporating into your diet. They have 2 or 3 bonds between molecules and, for the most part (except for the foods listed above), are the highest quality fats.
There are two kinds of healthy unsaturated fats:
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
- Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)
These fats may support improved insulin levels, enhanced heart health, reduced LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and improved blood glucose levels[*].
These two fatty acids may also help fight inflammation.
Omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are well-known PUFAs. These are essential fats that you should get from your diet because your body is not able to produce them. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent stroke and heart disease. Excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish, eggs, walnuts, flax seeds[*].
Foods rich in unsaturated fats include:
- Nuts (like macadamia nuts) and seeds
- Avocado, olives and olive and avocado oils
- Fish (salmon, mackerel)
There are some exceptions to this but unlike saturated fats, unsaturated fats are usually in liquid form at room temperature.
Trans fat is what gave fat a bad rap to begin with, and can harm your health in a number of ways.
They increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while decreasing your good ones.
Trans fats may cause inflammation that can raise the risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and other health conditions.
In fact, research has suggested that even 2% of calories from these fats daily can raise your chances of developing heart disease by 23%[*].
Foods such as frozen foods, fried foods, baked goods, and margarine contain trans fats[*].
Here are some of the healthy fat foods that you can include in your diet right now.
24 Healthy High-Fat Foods To Work Into Your Menu
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Cheese is a good source of selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, calcium, and other nutrients.
Choose cheese from grass-fed, hormone-free, ethically-treated cows for a superior nutrition profile.
Try FBOMB Krunch Cheese Crisps for a high-fat, premium cracker substitute!
#2: Dark Chocolate
A 100-gram serving of dark chocolate contains 11g of fiber and more than 50% of the recommended daily intake for manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron[*].
According to several studies, individuals who eat dark chocolate five times every week are less than half as likely to die from heart disease, compared to their counterparts who do not consume dark chocolate[*][*].
#3: Whole Eggs
The yolks of whole eggs are high in fat and cholesterol.
One egg has 212mg of cholesterol, which is 71% of the recommended daily intake. Sixty-two percent of the calories in whole eggs come from fat[*].
Studies have found that cholesterol in eggs doesn't affect the blood cholesterol levels in the majority of individuals[*]. Whole eggs are loaded with antioxidants, choline (a brain nutrient), minerals and vitamins. Eggs are very high in protein, an essential nutrient for weight loss[*].
The best eggs are pastured or omega-3 enriched. Almost all the nutrients are found in the yolk.
#4: Fatty Fish
Fatty fish are loaded with omega-3 fats that play a significant role in brain and heart health. It is recommended to eat two servings of fish per week[*]. Examples of fatty fish include trout, salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, and fresh tuna. One ounce of mackerel has about 20g protein and 15g of fat[*].
Avoid over-indulging on high-mercury fish such as tilefish, King mackerel, and swordfish.
#5: Chia Seeds
Chia seeds contain a wealth of nutrients. An ounce of the chia seeds contains 8.71g of fat, much of which is composed of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids[*].
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reported that omega-3 fatty acids can relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and decrease triglycerides in the blood[*].
According to a 2014 study, chia seed flour can reduce blood pressure in individuals suffering from high blood pressure[*].
These nutritious seeds also provide calcium, iron, protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
Add some chia seeds to your smoothie to make it more nutritious or add them to your salad to give it a healthy boost.
#6: Coconut and Coconut Oil
Coconut oil and coconuts are an excellent source of saturated fat. About 90% of the fatty acids in coconuts are saturated fats, and just half a packet of FBOMB Premium Coconut Oil contains 15g of beneficial fats.
The majority of fats in coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids.
#7: Full-Fat Yogurt
Full-fat yogurt is loaded with healthy, probiotic bacteria that can have beneficial effects on your health.
According to studies, yogurt can contribute to improving digestive health and may help fight obesity and heart disease[*][*][*]. You can enjoy yogurt with berries, seeds, and nuts as a dessert, snack or breakfast.
#8: Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The oil has also been shown to improve cholesterol markers, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease[*].
Pork fat is an excellent source of minerals and B vitamins. It is more healthy and unsaturated than beef or lamb fat. Apart from this, pork fat has 60% monounsaturated oleic acid, which is good for your skin, arteries, and heart[*]. It’s best to eat pork fat with vegetables.
Avocados are a good source of oleic acid, which are healthy monounsaturated fats that can satiate your food cravings, according to a study[*]. In addition to oleic acid, they also contain fiber and protein.
You can sprinkle avocados with a pinch of pepper and salt or you can cut them into small pieces and drizzle them with salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Avocado is also delicious with eggs.
Edamame (young green soybean) is a significant source of protein and fat.
Speaking of fats, edamame contains monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated fats[*]. You can add edamame to your salads, stews, stirfries and soups.
Be careful with edamame though. 100g of edamame contains 10g of carbs and 5g of net carbs, and it’s easy to overeat this snack.
The blue-green algae spirulina is a good source of omega-3s, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Apart from being rich in these healthy fats, spirulina is also an excellent source of probiotics and protein. It may even help reduce your body weight[*]. Spirulina is available in supplement form as well as powder form.
You can mix spirulina into your smoothies, or just into water. You’ll probably want to down it quickly, though. It doesn’t taste very good!
Almonds contain significant amounts of monounsaturated fat. In addition to these good fats, they are also a rich source of fiber, protein, and vitamin E[*]. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that plays a crucial role in your eye health[*]. Almonds may also help people with diabetes and enhance your heart health[*].
A good source of almonds is almond butter, almond flour or just raw almonds. Grab a handful and enjoy.
Duck contains the highest level of polyunsaturated fat called arachidonic acid[*]. According to one study, supplementation of arachidonic acid enhances anaerobic power, strength, and lean body mass in men[*].
Duck has a different texture and flavor than other poultry but it can usually act as a substitute for chicken and turkey.
Cashews are a great snack food because they pack in protein and healthy monounsaturated fats. In addition to heart-healthy fats, cashews are also a rich source of magnesium, which plays a crucial role in bone and heart health[*].
Cashews are extremely versatile and can be enjoyed raw, used in soups, stirfries and curries, and even used in vegan recipes in place of dairy products like cream cheese.
#16: Flax Seeds
For an added boost of omega-3s and fiber, add flax seeds to your smoothies or low-carb “n-oatmeal”. Research has found that flax seeds help protect against breast cancer[*].
Whether you hate them or love them, olives are an excellent source of vitamin E, beta carotene, fiber, and monounsaturated fat, which may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is the “bad” kind of cholesterol that clogs your arteries and elevates your risk of heart disease[*].
#18: Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are rich in minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats. They’re also a source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Antioxidants in these nuts help fight free radicals, unstable molecules responsible for damaging healthy cells[*].
Incorporating macadamia nuts into your diet is easy. Grind them and sprinkle them onto your dishes and soups, grab a handful for a decadent snack or drop an FBOMB (that is, try our delicious Macadamia Nut Butter!)
#19: Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. In fact, 75% of the fat in these seeds is either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated.
Additionally, pumpkin seeds are high in fiber and minerals, such as magnesium and zinc. While magnesium has anti-inflammatory properties, zinc plays a vital role in your immune health[*].
You can sprinkle pumpkin seeds on your soups, salads, or just eat them raw.
#20: Grass-Fed Beef
#21: MCT Oil
Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are fats derived from coconuts.
MCTs come in liquid form, hence MCT oil.
MCTs promote ketone production, and are highly bioavailable sources of fats.You can add MCT oil to your sauces, condiments, smoothies, and salad dressings, but the most popular way to use MCT oil right now is in coffee!
Try our premium C8/C10 MCT Oil for all-day energy and to boost your fat intake.
Walnuts are another nut on the “top fat sources” list that are a source of antioxidants and omega-3 fats.
Research has suggested that adding walnuts to your diet may help boost your brain health and reduce cancer and heart disease risk[*].
#23: Bluefin Tuna
Like many cold-water fish, bluefin tuna is an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats. However, pregnant women should limit the consumption of this fish because it has high levels of mercury, a toxic metal[*].
#24: Atlantic Cod
Atlantic cod is a big white protein-rich fish. Cod liver oil, which is derived from the liver of Atlantic cod, is a great source of vitamin D and fatty acids[*]. We all know that Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health.
Start Eating More Fat NOW
Fat is smart fuel, and more research is emerging helping us understand the vast benefits of this macronutrient. A healthy diet should include beneficial polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Fatty fish, seeds, olive oil, and eggs are some of the excellent sources of these healthy fats.
Don’t fear fats, embrace them. It’s time to add healthy fats to your diet.