There are basically two kinds of fats: saturated (unhealthy fats) and unsaturated (beneficial fats).
If you eat a lot of saturated fats (mainly present in animal products like butter, cheese, whole dairy products and meat), you may have a rise in your cholesterol.
Unsaturated fats are considered beneficial for you, because being derived mostly from plant foods, they can help to maintain blood cholesterol levels within a normal range. Apart from this, they have numerous other health benefits.
There are two kinds of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats are present in nuts, seeds, olive oils and avocados. They are beneficial if you eat them moderately.
Polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 fats. To be in optimal health you will need both of them but they compete with each other in your body so you need to get them in the proper balance. You normally eat too many omega-6 fats (chips, pastry, etc) but not enough omega-3s (fish, nuts, seeds and leafy greens).
It is a good idea to supplement with a high quality omega-3 supplement.
But remember, however beneficial and healthy, added fats will add a lot of extra calories to your diet. All oils, regardless of their source, have about 120 calories a tablespoon. Olive oil is a beneficial fat, but this doesn’t mean you should pour it all over your food.
Be carefull With the quality and the amount of Fats you eat if you aim To Keep Calories in Check
So, how can you include these beneficial fats into your day?
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pecans are considered tree nuts, which have more heart-healthy omega-3 than peanuts (not actually nuts, but beans). Here are some ways to include more nuts and seeds into your diet.
- A handful of nuts make a filling snack.
- Try stirring some nut butter into oatmeal, yogurt or protein shakes; or spread some on apple slices for a quick snack.
- Finely ground nuts make a delicious crispy coating for fish or chicken. Dip fish fillets or chicken breasts into beaten egg white, then lightly coat with ground nuts. Season with salt and pepper, then bake or saute.
- Sprinkle nuts or seeds into green salads, on top of cooked vegetables, yogurt or hot cereal, and into your shakes.
- Add nuts and seeds to trail mix.
- Tahini (sesame seed paste) makes a delicious base for a salad dressing or sauce.
Olive Oil and Olives
Olive oil is also one of the richest sources of monounsaturated fat. If the flavor of extra-virgin olive oil is too strong for you, look for light olive oils that have the same calories as regular olive oil, but are lighter in flavor.
- Use olive oil to replace vegetable oils and butter when you cook.
- Add whole olives to salad, or chopped olives to pasta sauces, or stirred into whole grain dishes after cooking.
- Make your own salad dressing with 2 parts olive oil, 1 part lemon juice or vinegar; salt and pepper to taste.
- Use a tiny bit of olive oil to flavor cooked vegetables.
- Try an olive spread on whole grain crackers. Whip up chopped olives, garlic and a little tomato paste in the blender.
Fish fat naturally contains heart-healthy omega-3.
- Order fish more often in restaurants.
- Canned tuna and salmon are super-convenient. Flake some tuna or salmon on top of a green salad for a quick meal.
- Add frozen cooked shrimp and scallops to soups or pasta dishes.
- Use fish instead of chicken in some of your favorite dishes like tacos or one-dish meals.
Avocados are technically a fruit and a good source of monounsaturated fat. Here are a few of my favorite uses for avocado.
- Use mashed avocado as a substitute for mayonnaise in tuna salad or egg salad.
- Mash into guacamole with a little lime juice and salt; use cut veggies rather than chips for dipping.
- Try a few slices of avocado in an omelet, or on top of hard-boiled eggs.
- Mix diced avocado, mango and red onion with a little lime juice and cilantro into a delicious salsa.